Approaches to counter loneliness and social isolation
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Approaches to counter loneliness and social isolation

Bob Price , Healthcare education and training consultant

Social isolation and loneliness are significant threats for older people and may be associated with mental and physical health problems. This article revisits what is meant by social isolation and loneliness and explores the way in which social change can trigger both problems. Social networks are discussed as the means by which older people can mediate the stresses of change around them.

The article summarises some of the health consequences of loneliness, indicates some simple measures nurses can use to limit the risk of institutional loneliness and then examines how collaborative community ventures, mentoring and befriending schemes can help older people to access and rebuild social networks that may assist them to sustain wellbeing. Case study material is used to highlight contrasting profiles of older people who may be either more or less at risk of social isolation.

Nursing Older People. 27, 7, 31-39. doi: 10.7748/nop.27.7.31.e722


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 01 May 2015

Accepted: 25 June 2015