Older adults who are socially isolated are much more likely to end up in a nursing home, a study has found.
Eight researchers published the study Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. They examined 11,517 adults aged 65 and older living independently who participated in a national health and retirement study in seven waves from March 1, 2006, to June 30, 2018.
Among the 15% of seniors who reported experiencing social isolation in a standardized health questionnaire, higher isolation scores “were significantly associated with increased odds of nursing home placement and skilled nursing facility stays” within two years, the researchers reported.
With each point increase in a senior citizen’s social isolation score for a range of questions on a 0-6 scale, the study found that “the estimated probability of nursing home placement or a skilled nursing facility stay increased by 0.5 and 0.4 percentage points, respectively, during 2 years.”
On the other hand, the study also found that higher levels of social isolation did not increase seniors’ chances of being hospitalized.
The findings build on a growing body of research into the health risks of living alone, the study noted.
“Efforts to deter or delay nursing home entry should seek to enhance social contact at home or in community settings,” the researchers wrote. “The design and assessment of interventions that optimize the social connections of older adults have the potential to improve their health trajectories and outcomes.”
The study comes as more adults report living alone than at any other time in U.S. history, fueling concerns about a looming elder care crisis.
According to the most recent Census Bureau data, 27.6% of all households had only one resident in 2020. That is more than triple the 1940 figure of 7.7%.
A Pew Research Center analysis of data going back 50 years found that a record-high 25% of 40-year-olds in 2021 had never married, up from 20% in 2010. Most lived alone, with just 22% of never-married adults ages 40 to 44 reporting last year that they cohabitated with a romantic partner.
According to the study published Monday, an estimated one-fourth of all seniors in the U.S. experience social isolation, which researchers defined as “an objective lack of social contact that complicates the ability to age at home or in the community.”
“Social isolation is of particular concern for older adults, who often experience bereavement or kinlessness or live alone despite needing additional support to manage complex health conditions,” the researchers wrote.
Denial of responsibility! galaxyconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.