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The impact of living in housing with care and support on loneliness and social isolation: findings from a resident-based survey

Beach, Brian, Willis, Paul ORCID:, Powell, Jillian, Vickery, Alex, Smith, Randall, Cameron, Ailsa and Albert, Steven M 2022. The impact of living in housing with care and support on loneliness and social isolation: findings from a resident-based survey. Innovation in Aging 6 (7) , igac061. 10.1093/geroni/igac061

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Background and Objectives Housing with care is often lauded as a way to combat loneliness and social isolation in later life. This study examined whether housing with care created better outcomes for residents in terms of loneliness and social isolation than they might expect if they were living in the community. Research Design and Methods A survey was distributed to residents of housing with care as part of the Diversity in Care Environments project. It was designed to enable comparison with the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Propensity score matching was applied to identify the effect of housing with care residence on loneliness and social isolation. Results People living in housing with care had lower levels of loneliness than would be expected if they lived in the general community, with an average treatment effect on the treated (ATT) of −0.407 (95% CI = −0.601, −0.214). In contrast, social isolation was found to be slightly higher for residents than would be expected if they were in the community (ATT = 0.134 [95% CI = 0.022, 0.247]). Higher social isolation appears driven by less frequent contact with friends and reduced organizational membership rather than any difference in contact with family and children. Discussion and Implications Our research has shown a positive impact on subjective social experiences from housing with care residence, despite a slight increase in objective social isolation. The findings underscore the importance of looking at loneliness and social isolation as distinct concepts as well as the effectiveness of housing with care at improving later-life outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 2399-5300
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2024 10:45

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