Predictors of perceived togetherness in very old men and women: A 5-year follow-up study

The Finnish Research Center for Interdisciplinary Gerontology, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland.
Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.85). 05/2008; 46(3):387-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2007.05.012
Source: PubMed


Although a considerable amount of research has been carried out on older adults' social ties, most of it has focused on quantitative aspects and on cross-sectional samples. In this study, the subjective aspect of social interaction is described by the concept of perceived togetherness. The aim of this study was to examine the extent to which different factors predict perceived togetherness in men and women over a 5-year period. It also addresses the question of whether it is possible to identify different subgroups in perceived togetherness. The data were collected with structured interviews and laboratory tests from 225 elderly people at ages 80 and 85. The results showed that the predictors of perceived togetherness partly differed between sexes as well as within the groups of males and females. Predictors common to both genders were contacts with friends, less depressive symptoms, higher education level and better coping with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). The findings indicated the importance of friends. Widowhood and self-rated health were predictors in women but not in men. Moreover, there appeared to be two subgroups of women and men in perceived togetherness; these were labeled "socially embedded", "socially isolated", "socially active" and "solitary". The results indicate diversity in perceived togetherness and its predictors. More attention should be paid to individual differences in order to prevent loneliness and to promote older adults' well-being.

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    • "In fact, on top of social engagement with spouses or family, friendships and group memberships have also been associated with better cognitive functioning (Bassuk, Glass & Berkman, 1999). Research has shown that apart from social support from their kin, people over 80 years of age may even feel more emotional satisfaction from relationships with people around their age, by producing more feelings of autonomy and independence (Tiikkainen et al., 2008). In the context of the elderly residing in long-term care facilities, there is "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the impact of playing Nintendo Wii on the psychological, social and physical well-being of elders. Based on the unique features of Wii, we also explored the possible mediation effects that social interaction and physical activity that playing Wii had on psychological well-being. Finally, we studied how the benefits of playing Wii may be magnified under different playing conditions. A six week-long intervention was held in SASCO Senior Citizens’ Home, a long-term care facility in Singapore. 45 residents aged between 56 and 92 years old took part in the study. Participants were split into three experimental groups: (1) Multiplayer Wii group (2) Single-player Wii group and (3) control group, who played traditional group games. Game sessions took place three times a week, lasting one and a half hours each. Questionnaires were administered through face-to-face interviews before and after the intervention. Measures included social interaction, physical activity, senior centre belonging, loneliness, affect and self-esteem. Results showed that playing Wii had a positive impact on the overall well-being of the elderly. Mediation effects were found for psychological well-being variables like loneliness and belonging. The elder in the single-player Wii group exhibited more positive affect compared to those in the multiplayer group. Through this study, Wii was proven to have a positive contribution to the overall well-being of the elderly. Explanations and implications for future applications of Wii in interventions for the elderly are were discussed. COMMUNICATION STUDIES
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    ABSTRACT: kirkevold m., moyle w., wilkinson c., meyer j. & hauge s. (2012) Facing the challenge of adapting to a life 'alone' in old age: the influence of losses. Journal of Advanced Nursing00(0), 000-000. ABSTRACT: Aim.  The aim of this study is to explore older people's approaches to living a life characterized by losses and 'aloneness' and how this relates to loneliness. Background.  Loneliness is closely related to social status and health condition. Older people are vulnerable to experiences of loneliness due to losses, which follow the ageing process. Method.  A qualitative interpretative design was used. Older people, aged 65 and above, living at home, in retirement villages, or in long-term care settings in Australia, Norway, and UK participated. Seventy-eight persons were included. Data were collected through open-ended interviews during autumn of 2006 and spring of 2007. The interviews were audio taped, transcribed, and analysed applying a hermeneutic, interpretative process. Findings.  Analyses revealed great differences in the way participants handled their life situation. Interviewees describing themselves as 'not lonely' viewed losses as normal, and they participated in meaningful activities, connected to other people and thrived in their own company. Those describing themselves as 'lonely' on the other hand, strove to create meaning in their lives, were overwhelmed by losses, had problems finding meaningful activities and difficulty keeping up social relations. Conclusion.  Loneliness was associated with overwhelming losses, inactivity, meaninglessness, and social isolation. The contrasting findings between 'not lonely' and 'lonely' older people have implications for nursing in that nurses must seek to identify those who need help in managing their loneliness and give guidance and support. More research is needed to develop interventions that are effective in reducing loneliness.
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