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Mental health and loneliness in old age

Researcher Vasiliki Tzouvara will be presenting the results of her study into loneliness among nursing home residents at the RCN international nursing research conference in Edinburgh. She believes more initiatives should be targeted at this population.

Loneliness is an increasing problem as we grow older – and as the number of older people in the UK rises, it’s likely to get worse. Mental health problems such as depression are also growing in this age group and can heighten people’s sense of loneliness. So how do these two trends relate?

This is the issue that King’s College London nursing department research associate Vasiliki Tzouvara set out to investigate. Over the course of three years she examined how residents in nursing homes experienced loneliness and how this experience in turn related to their ‘self-stigma’ – that is, the negative way they may think about their own mental health problems.

Dr Tzouvara has been interested in old age and mental health issues for a long time after being partly brought up by her grandparents in Greece. She moved to the UK in 2011 to

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