Loneliness can have a significant impact on the physical and mental health of older people and is of increasing concern for public health says a new report from the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH). The research suggests that approximately 10% of older people are affected by chronic or persistent loneliness. It also finds that loneliness amongst older people may be linked to depression, increased nursing home admission, decreased quality of life and cognitive decline.
The report, compiled by Brian Harvey and Kathy Walsh for the Ageing Research and Development Division at IPH, examines loneliness in particular amongst older people and the policy and service interventions to tackle the issue. It argues that loneliness may be tackled by health and social policies and therefore needs to be addressed in a cross cutting manner to maximise the impact of interventions and services.