Social Support, Loneliness and Depression in the Elderly
Oni, Oluwabusola Olutoyin
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The purpose of this study was to explore specific types of informal social relationships- family or friends formed in nursing homes and to determine how each affected the health of the elderly, especially in the areas of loneliness and depression. A face-to-face interview using four structured questionnaires was adopted for this descriptive study design. The main outcomes of depression and loneliness were measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and University of California Loneliness Scale (UCLA). The Duke Inventory Social Support Scale, measuring both family and friend support separately, measured predictor variables of family and friend support. Eighty-seven percent of participants completed the study. The results indicate that friend support was a more reliable factor for predicting the levels of loneliness and depression after controlling for all other co-founding variables. The findings will help nurses and other health care personnel when assessing the social support networks, beliefs and preferences of older adults to plan and implement the best practices. This will also offer health care facilities suggested ways to reduce or combat loneliness and depression among the elderly people.