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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