A Pre-Hospital Intervention to Alleviate Loneliness and Isolation in Older Adults
Loneliness and isolation are becoming more prevalent and pertinent public health
issues in our elderly population. They are correlated with several adverse health outcomes
and contribute to the economic strain on the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.
Fifty percent of people aged 60 and above have a risk of social isolation, and a third of them will
experience loneliness. Forty-nine percent of adults ages 65 and above state that the television
or pets are the main forms of company and companionship in their lives.
Although the average life expectancy has increased globally due to advancements
in public health and medicine, healthy life expectancy has not matched this improvement.
A contributing aspect of this is the increasing incidence of loneliness. Factors that contribute to
increased isolation include reduced inter-generational living, greater social and
geographical mobility, and the rise in single-occupancy households.
Loneliness can be experienced differently by individuals—some may develop feelings of loneliness
or isolation in old age, some may have experienced this throughout their lives, or some may
experience it as a consequence of an event such as a bereavement or retirement.
It also may be a challenging issue to explore or acknowledge as patients may be reluctant
to divulge that they are feeling lonely or isolated.
Emerg Med Open J. 2023; 9(1): 21-27. doi: 10.17140/EMOJ-9-169