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