Loneliness is often associated with conditions such as; Alzheimer’s, Cardiovascular disease, depression, insomnia, cerebrovascular disease and hypertension. A recent study in New Zealand compared the link between loneliness in the elderly community.
With over 70,000 elders that contributed to the study, the data allowed researchers to study the loneliness in the community.Centenarians which are elders that are 100 years or older were less lonely that elders who were in between the ages of 65-99. With the International Residential Assessment Instrument-Home Care (interRAI-HC), model researchers were able to find a 32% reduction in loneliness for elders over the age of 100. Variables that contribute to reduction in loneliness are: living with others, having a good support system, and having a lack of depression. Knowing these risk factors can help our society and family members to help someone that is going through loneliness to reduce the impact. Dr. Leitch along with his team found significant links between age, loneliness and mental well-being.
Dr. Leitch says, “That centenarians were less lonely is interesting because centenarians are models of successful aging. We can look at the aspects of their lives that may help reduce loneliness. We found living with others and having family support were more common among centenarians, and depression was less common. These factors may well be due to centenarians needing more ‘hands-on’ care and attention, but for whatever reason were associated with reduced loneliness. Human connections are vital for our well-being. We need to consider how we ensure our elderly relatives and neighbors feel included and supported in society, to help reduce the burden of loneliness and avoid the negative health implications that can arise from it.”