Loneliness among very old people with and without dementia: prevalence and associated factors in a representative sample

Eur J Ageing. 2022 Dec;19(4):1441-1453. doi: 10.1007/s10433-022-00729-8. Epub 2022 Sep 16.

ABSTRACT

Loneliness and dementia are common among very old (aged ≥ 80 years) people, but whether the prevalence of loneliness differs between very old people with and without dementia is unknown and few studies have investigated associated factors. The aims of the present study were to compare the prevalence of loneliness between people with and without dementia in a representative sample of very old people, and to investigate factors associated with loneliness in the two groups separately. This population-based study was conducted with data on 1176 people aged 85, 90, and ≥ 95 years (mean age 89.0 ± 4.47 years) from the Umeå 85 + /Gerontological Regional Database study conducted in northern Sweden, during year 2000-2017. Structured interviews and assessments were conducted during home visits. Loneliness was assessed using the question “Do you ever feel lonely?.” Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to identify factors associated with loneliness in participants with and without dementia. The prevalence of loneliness did not differ between people with and without dementia (50.9% and 46.0%, respectively; p = 0.13). Seven and 24 of 35 variables were univariately associated with the experience of loneliness in participants with and without dementia, respectively. In the final models, living alone and having depressive symptoms were associated with the experience of loneliness in both study groups. In participants without dementia, living in a nursing home was associated with the experience of less loneliness. These findings contribute with important knowledge when developing strategies to reduce loneliness in this growing age group.

PMID:36692772 | DOI:10.1007/s10433-022-00729-8

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