A group of researchers belonging to the San Diego School of Medicine from the University of California conducted a study regarding the similar traits among aged candidates who suffer from loneliness. Senior citizens from retirement homes and senior living colonies were chosen for this research.
The study was published in the ‘Aging and Mental Health’ journal. It discovered that loneliness is affected by various factors which can either be personal or environmental. Insufficient extroversion and losses which are age-associated were considered to be the risk factors for loneliness at an initial stage.
Alejandra Paredes, who was a part of the research, mentioned, “Some residents talked about the loss of spouses, siblings and friends as the cause of their loneliness. Others mentioned how making new friends in a senior community cannot replace deceased friends they grew up with.” Pardes belongs to the Department of Psychiatry under San Diego School of Medicine, University of California.
The research also mentioned that ‘lack of purpose’ was also one of the factors which was heavily related to loneliness. The candidates often stated they felt “not being attached, not having very much meaning and not feeling very hopeful” or “being lost and not having control.” On the brighter side, factors such as compassion and wisdom fought loneliness. Coming to terms with old age and making amends with being alone were also such factors.
Dilip V. Jeste, the senior author of the research added, “It is important that we identify the underlying causes of loneliness from the seniors’ own perspectives so we can help resolve it and improve the overall health, well-being and longevity of our aging population.” Jeste is a senior professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at San Diego School of Medicine, University of California.
Out of the 100 adults, whose mental, cognitive and physical functions were evaluated, 30 were made to interview. The interviewees were from the age of 67 to 92. They all belonged to a senior housing community situated in San Diego.