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Loneliness in Community-Dwelling, Older Adults: An Integrative Review

      Highlights

      • Loneliness has implications for poor health outcomes in an older adult population.
      • Social networks, physical and mental conditions, and loneliness are interconnected.
      • Nurse practitioners integrating screening tools can promote interventions to reduce loneliness.
      • Individualized care plans may prevent poor health outcomes caused by loneliness.

      Abstract

      Loneliness is a major public health concern impacting the well-being of older adults. Loneliness increases older adults’ risk of adverse health outcomes. Approximately 35% of adults over age 65 report frequent feelings of loneliness. A comprehensive search was performed of the literature published from 2011 to 2021. Primary studies that examined or described loneliness in the community-dwelling, older adult US population were included. The evidence was synthesized, and common themes were identified. Twenty-two studies were included. The University of California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale was the most frequently used measurement tool. Older adults experienced physical and psychological changes associated with loneliness. Common approaches to reduce loneliness included community-based, person-centered, and socialization approaches. Loneliness increases older adults’ risk of adverse health outcomes. Future studies should consider the impact of loneliness on older adults across diverse backgrounds. The integration of loneliness screening tools may help promote targeted interventions and improve quality of care.

      Keywords

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      Biography

      Kala K. Blakely, DNP, NP-C, CNE, is an assistant professor at the School of Nursing, University of Alabama in Birmingham and can be contacted at [email protected] .

      Biography

      Natalie R. Baker is an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.