Author(s): Holmn K, Ericsson K, Winblad B
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Abstract There is a lack of studies about loneliness and cognitive functioning among elderly people and, above all, among those with cognitive impairment. The aim of this study is to investigate loneliness, both social and emotional, in non-demented and demented elderly people. The study is based on 589 persons, who answered the question about social loneliness (often being lonely) in the Kungsholmen longitudinal project. All subjects were examined extensively to reach a diagnosis and to determine the dementia level. Data were collected through structured interviews on subjective social loneliness as well as emotional loneliness (feelings of loneliness, from often to never) and background variables (age, sex, housing and housing conditions). Non-demented elderly subjects reported themselves to be lonely significantly less often compared to demented subjects, but there were no differences in the emotional experience of loneliness. Social loneliness was more common in the different levels of dementia and increased with reduced cognitive functioning, while emotional loneliness decreased. Living together with someone and living in one's own apartment showed a positive influence on feelings of loneliness.
This article was published in Arch Gerontol Geriatr
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research