Loneliness Often Means Nursing Home
A study by scientists at two Iowa institutions of higher learning say extreme loneliness is a "significant predictor of admission to a nursing home--especially among rural older men and women." The University of Iowa's Dr. Robert Wallace, senior author of the study, says "interventions to prevent loneliness should be explored in order to keep older people independent."
Writing in the Psychology and Aging journal, Wallace and researchers at Iowa State University looked at more than 3,000 Iowans over the age of 74 who lived in rural areas. Their findings: individuals "who were the most lonely...at the time of the (original) interviews were more likely to be admitted to a nursing home" over a subsequent four-year period.
But the researchers also found admission to nursing homes may be helpful to those persons complaining of extreme loneliness, through the availability of interaction with facility staff and other elderly persons.