The National Seniors Council of Canada has just released a new report outlining the current scientific literature about social isolation among specific groups of seniors. This is a comprehensive review and we encourage everyone interested in seniors’ issues to have a look. This review has helped inform our own review of best practices for social isolation and loneliness among older adults.
From the executive summary:
“Canada’s population is aging rapidly as a growing proportion of baby boomers transition into their senior years. In this context, the issue of social isolation – which has profound impacts on the health and well-being of seniors from all walks of life – has come to occupy an increasingly important place in discussions on seniors and aging in Canada. It is estimated that up to 16% of seniors experience social isolation (Statistics Canada, 2010). Who’s at Risk and What Can Be Done About It builds on earlier work undertaken by the National Seniors Council (NSC) on the issue of the social isolation of seniors. Specifically, the current review looks at what the literature says about how different groups of vulnerable seniors are affected by social isolation and identifies promising interventions to tackle social isolation and reconnect seniors to their communities.
“Nine groups of seniors are examined: Aboriginal seniors, seniors who are caregivers, immigrant seniors, LGBT seniors, seniors living alone, seniors living in remote or rural areas, low-income seniors and those living in poverty, seniors with mental health issues (including Alzheimer’s and other dementias), and seniors with health challenges or disabilities. The review begins with an examination of the literature on each group before exploring the literature on promising interventions, most of which focuses on seniors as a whole. It concludes with four main findings.”