Elderly carers have larger social networks and are not as lonely as other people in their age group, according to a paper in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. They also tend to be healthier and have a better quality of life.
A study of 4,278 people aged 75 and over showed strong links between loneliness, a weak social network and low mental quality of life.
Researchers from Lund University in Sweden also reported that women were more likely to report frequent and intense loneliness than men. “Just under one in five of the people who completed the postal questionnaire and health survey (18 per cent) provided care for another person” says the paper’s lead author Anna Ekwall. “63 per cent of carers said they had not felt lonely during the last year compared with 44 per cent of non carers.
“Being aware of the negative effects that loneliness and small social networks have on quality of life is important for those who work with older people” concludes Anna Ekwall.
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