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During Lockdown Older Adults In Low Income Neighborhoods Are Twice As Likely To Feel Lonely

According to research, older adults in the poorest regions of England were more than twice as likely as those in the richest areas to feel alienated and lonely during the first coronavirus lockdown.
According to research undertaken by University College London (UCL) and the University of Manchester, a third (33%) of older adults in the poorest 20% of regions felt lonely during the first lockdown.
Those in the richest quintile account for 16% of the population.
Researchers looked examined data from 4,709 men and women over the age of 50 who were enrolled in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) before the pandemic and during the first two lockdowns in 2020.
They looked at subjective social isolation – how isolated participants feel – while objective social isolation – actual levels of contact with friends and family – and found that adults over 70 had greater rises in objective social isolation in the second half of 2020, and those aged 50-59 and older than 80 felt the most lonely during the epidemic.
Before the pandemic, around a fifth of participants (19%) reported significant levels of subjective social isolation, with the prevalence increasing during both waves.
9% reported a significant level of objective social isolation, which decreased during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, women and those with poor self-reported health were more likely to feel socially excluded and lonely.
The authors found that increasing remote engagement, such as video conversations, was inadequate in totally addressing increased feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
“All age groups had more subjective social isolation during 2020 compared to previous years,” said lead scientist Dr Georgia Chatzi of the University of Manchester. “However, individuals aged 50-59 were the most affected.”
“Adults older than 70 reported greater increases in objective social isolation in the second half of 2020, while those aged 50-59 and older than 80 felt the most lonely throughout the pandemic,” said Professor Andrew Steptoe, of UCL’s Department of Behavioural Science and Health and ELSA lead.

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