The management of loneliness in aged care residents: an important therapeutic target for gerontological nursing
Brownie, S & Horstmanshof, L 2011, 'The management of loneliness in aged care residents: an important therapeutic target for gerontological nursing', Geriatric Nursing, vol 32, no. 5, pp. 318-325.
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Social engagement and meaningful relationships are critical determinants of the quality of life of older people. Human beings have an intrinsic need for social connections and an engagement with the social environment. Deficits in the quality of these social relationships lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness in older people. Loneliness can have serious physiological and health implications. It is well established that loneliness is a risk factor for poor physical and mental health, comparable in size to obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and possibly even smoking. The aim of this article is to present an argument for the management of loneliness in aged care residents as an important therapeutic target in gerontological nursing. To date little is known about the effectiveness of intervention strategies designed to alleviate loneliness in aged care residents. Nurses can address this deficit in our understanding by evaluating the impact of loneliness intervention strategies.