ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to examine social isolation development among elderly persons living in a rapidly aging housing estate community in terms of the frequency of activities of daily living outside the home and social contact with neighbors and to identify associated factors. METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted in 2007 (102 subjects) and 2010 (104 subjects) involving elderly residents living on a suburban housing estate. The data collected on the 87 subjects who responded to both surveys were analyzed. The survey investigated physical, psychological, and social factors regarded as being associated with social isolation. The subjects were divided into four social types according to the frequency of activities of daily living outside the home and social contact with neighbors. Multiple logistic regression analysis involved would-be-isolated and non-isolated groups as dependent variables and each factor as an independent variable. RESULTS: Isolated group subjects increased from 2.3 to 7.0 % during the study period, with the would-be-isolated group accounting for 33.7 % of the study population in both years. Factors strongly associated with the would-be-isolated group were a low subjective sense of well-being and socioeconomic status were identified in 2007, and an older age, low subjective sense of socioeconomic status, and no provision of emotional support in 2010. CONCLUSIONS: The health condition and social well-being of the elderly on a rapidly aging housing estate community tended to decline, revealing that the number of isolated and would-be-isolated subjects is increasing. Taking preventive action against social isolation among the elderly population is essential, suggesting the need to combine community health promotion and social communication interventions and to develop programs aimed at providing opportunities for elderly persons to be emotional support providers.
Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine 04/2012;