Thursday 8 December 2016

One in 10 older people suffers from loneliness

Published 09/03/2016 | 02:30

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One in 10 older people suffers from ongoing and persistent loneliness, with implications for their physical and mental health, new research warns.

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It leaves them vulnerable to depression and at a higher chance of having to leave their house earlier than they may need in order to live in a nursing home. Loneliness is also linked to poorer quality of life and decline in functions such as concentration and memory, according to the report from the all-Ireland body, the Institute of Public Health.

Dr Roger O'Sullivan, the organisation's director of ageing research and development, pointed out that "loneliness is... often misunderstood. It is a feeling that can occur to any of us from time to time, at a particular stage in life or associated with specific life events," he said. "However, chronic loneliness is where a person feels lonely most or all of the time."

Some groups are particularly at risk, including those with a physical or intellectual disability; older people with dementia or cognitive impairment; and those from minorities, including LGBT communities.

Irish Independent

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