Scoping Review of the Literature Social Isolation of Seniors 2013-2014

Prevalence

Research regarding the prevalence of social isolation to support policy measures to address this issue is limited. As per the Report on the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Expert Consultation, conducted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, reports of prevalence of loneliness range between 10 and 90%, depending on the definition and population used (Hall, Havens & Sylvestre, 2003; Hall, 2004). The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reports that loneliness affects approximately 10% of older adults and is linked to depression and the risk of suicide. This study also noted that loneliness is inversely related to physical health, is more frequent in women, and increases with age (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2010).

According to Victor (2011), in various parts of the UK, it is suggested that between 5 to 16% of older adults are lonely. An estimated 10% of the UK population aged over 65 is lonely at all times or most of the time (as cited in Bolton, 2012, p.5). Victor (2011) also stated that, since 17% of older people are in contact with their families, friends and neighbours less than once per week, and since 11% are in contact less than once per month, the number of isolated older adults at risk of loneliness is probably larger (as cited in Bolton, 2012, p.5).

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