Loneliness can lead to nursing home stays in older people

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Feeling lonely can make older people more likely to end up in a nursing home. This was the finding of a study that was published online on July 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Mary Louise Pomeroy, Ph.D., and her team from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore carried out the study.

They wanted to find out if feeling isolated was linked to hospital stays and time spent in nursing homes. They asked over 11,500 older people who live in the community, not in care homes, about their experiences.

What Did They Discover?

The team found that about 15% of the older people living in the community felt isolated. This was a big deal. People who felt isolated were more likely to end up in a nursing home or have to stay in a skilled nursing facility.

In fact, if a person felt more isolated, their chance of ending up in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility increased.

However, feeling isolated didn’t make people more likely to end up in the hospital. This was a bit of a surprise.

The authors of the study think this is important. They wrote that feeling isolated was a big risk factor for older people ending up in a nursing home.

They suggest that finding ways to help older people feel more connected could help them stay in their own homes longer.

Designing programs that help older people make friends and feel part of a community could improve their health and quality of life.

This could stop them from having to move into a nursing home, which could be good for them and save money.

In conclusion, loneliness isn’t just a sad feeling. It can have a real impact on the lives of older people. It’s important that we find ways to help older people feel less isolated.

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The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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