Research focus

Research focus: social isolation and its effect on mortality and ill health

Compiled by Vicki Leah, nurse consultant for older people, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London 

Social isolation, or the perception of social isolation, is far from inevitable for older people and is not a ‘normal’ part of ageing. However, nurses in all settings will encounter older people who are lonely and it is becoming increasingly clear that loneliness plays an important part in older people’s health outcomes, as described in the three research articles summarised below.

At the end of the summaries is a link to a resource offering information and advice on choosing and using a scale to measure the effect of your services on loneliness in older age.

Feelings of loneliness and living alone as predictors of mortality in the elderly: the PAQUID study

This large population study carried out in France investigated how living alone and feelings of loneliness affected