Predictors of loneliness and different types of social isolation of rural-living older adults in the UK
de Koning, JL
Ageing and Society
Cambridge University Press
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Cambridge University Press via the DOI in this record.
Loneliness and social isolation are recognised, conceptually-distinct threats to health and wellbeing in older age but limited evidence is available on their predictors in rural populations. This study performed logistical regression modelling to explore the predictors of loneliness, isolation from one’s family and isolation from one’s community in 884 British rural-living older adults (57.9% female, mean age 71.5 [SD 8.1] years) within the Grey and Pleasant Land dataset. While 13 per cent of participants reported feeling lonely, 49 per cent reported isolation from their family and 9 per cent reported isolation from their community. Minimal cross-over between groups was observed. Widowhood, financial difficulties, area deprivation and self-reported impairments in physical and mental health predicted loneliness. Greater financial difficulty gave lower odds of isolation from one’s family, and higher levels of community engagement gave lower odds of isolation from the community. Ageing in place (longer residency) was the only common predictor for all three dependent variables. Initiatives aimed at tackling loneliness and social isolation in rural-living older people must recognise that the two concepts are distinct, affecting different population sub-groups with mostly different risk factor profiles. Future interventions and policies should clearly identify whether their target is loneliness or social isolation and tailor their interventions appropriately.
Published online: 30 August 2016