J Korean Geriatr Soc.  2007 Dec;11(4):205-212.

Loneliness and Cognitive Function in the Elderly Living Alone: Cross-sectional Study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. chunwon@khmc.or.kr

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Many foreign researchs show that physical illness and loneliness are causes of cognitive decline in old men. Especially, living alone group feels more depressive mood and loneliness than married group. Neverthe- less, there is no domestic research whether loneliness is associated with cognitive decline. METHOD: We have interviewed 95 elderly, living alone, who are supported by an elderly wellfare office of Seoul city. Educated three interviewers investigated sociodemographic characteristics, loneliness scale, dementia scale, instru- mental activity of daily living, and depression scale. RESULTS: The subjects were almost women(90.5%), low educated(no schooling; 67.4%), low economic status(income < 600,000 won/month; 97%) and had moderate-high degree loneliness(UCLA lonliness scale 49.8), mild depression (GDSSF-K score; 7.8). In a multiple regression analysis, there was no correlation between the loneliness and cognitive function(p=.878), no association between social disengagement index and cognitive function(p=.817). However, age (p=0.005), education(p=0.000), smoking(p=0.045) had statistical correlation with cognitive function. CONCLUSION: In living alone elderly, the cognitive function is not associated with loneliness and social support, but associated with age, education, smoking.

Keyword

Living alone elderly; Loneliness; Cognitive function; Social support
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