Predicting the prevalence of loneliness at older ages

Age UK
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This paper presents a prediction of the prevalence of loneliness among people aged 65 or over across small geographical units in England. It uses data from the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA) survey to obtain predictors of loneliness and to test for the presence of spatial neighbouring effects (i.e. spatial dependence). The results are applied to data from the Census 2011 to predict the prevalence of loneliness across England. The study found that being in poor health was by far the biggest factor associated with chronic loneliness and the next most important were being widowed and living alone. Some factors normally assumed to be associated with loneliness, such as area deprivation, poverty and living in a rural area, proved not to be significant. The paper concludes that the estimates can be used to identify hotspots and design tailor-made interventions to address particular characteristics behind prevalence of loneliness in each area. Even if the initiatives are localised and administered by local governments or locally-based organisations, having the nation- and region- (or state-) wide picture of the prevalence of loneliness across local areas should a useful tool towards designing and evaluating joined-up policies. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
older people, loneliness, physical illness, poverty, rural areas, social isolation;
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