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Age Ageing ; 52(6)2023 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238635


OBJECTIVES: There is little research conducted to systematically synthesize the evidence on psychological interventions for social isolation and loneliness among older adults during medical pandemics. This systematic review aims to address this information gap and provides guidance for planning and implementing interventions to prevent and reduce loneliness and social isolation for older adults, especially during medical pandemics. METHODS: Four electronic databases (EMBASE, PsychoInfo, Medline and Web of Science) and grey literature from 1 January 2000 to 13 September 2022 were searched for eligible studies on loneliness and social isolation. Data extraction and methodological quality assessment on key study characteristics were conducted independently by two researchers. Both qualitative synthesis and meta-analysis were used. RESULTS: The initial search yielded 3,116 titles. Of the 215 full texts reviewed, 12 intervention articles targeting loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic met the inclusion criteria. No studies were found concerning intervention with respect to social isolation. Overall, interventions targeting social skills and the elimination of negativities effectively alleviated the feelings of loneliness in the older population. However, they had only short-term effects. CONCLUSION: This review systematically summarised the key characteristics and the effectiveness of existing interventions addressing loneliness in older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Future interventions should focus on social skills and eliminating negativities and be tailored to the needs and characteristics of older people. Repeated larger-scale randomized controlled trials and long-term effectiveness evaluations on this topic are warranted.

COVID-19 , Loneliness , Humans , Aged , Loneliness/psychology , Pandemics , Psychosocial Intervention , COVID-19/epidemiology , Social Isolation/psychology
Int Psychogeriatr ; : 1-13, 2022 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2304277


OBJECTIVES: Pandemics and their public health control measures have generally substantially increased the level of loneliness and social isolation in the general population. Because of the circumstances of aging, older adults are more likely to experience social isolation and loneliness during pandemics. However, no systematic review has been conducted or published on the prevalence of loneliness and/or social isolation among the older population. This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to provide up-to-date pooled estimates of the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness among older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic and other pandemics in the last two decades. DESIGN: EMBASE, PsychoINFO, Medline, and Web of Science were searched for relevant studies from January 1, 2000 to November 31, 2021 published in a variety of languages. Only studies conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic were selected in the review. RESULTS: A total of 30 studies including 28,050 participants met the inclusion criteria. Overall, the pooled period prevalence of loneliness among older adults was 28.6% (95% CI: 22.9-35.0%) and 31.2% for social isolation (95% CI: 20.2-44.9%). Prevalence estimates were significantly higher for those studies conducted post 3-month from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to those conducted within the first 3 months of the pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: This review identifies the need for good quality longitudinal studies to examine the long-term impact of pandemics on loneliness and social isolation among older populations. Health policymaking and healthcare systems should proactively address the rising demand for appropriate psychological services among older adults.