Intervention to reduce loneliness among older adults in the community: Making friends with volunteers

Hui Chuan Hsu, Shu Ching Chang, Chun Yu Liang, Jie Rong Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim: This study aimed to examine the effects of providing a program that introduced volunteers to make friends with older adults to reduce loneliness and increase loneliness literacy. Methods: Eight community development associations in Taiwan participated in the study. In the first stage, older people living alone or with only a spouse, or those with a family, but without substantial interactions, were screened for loneliness. Older adults with a higher risk of loneliness were given priority to be invited to participate in this intervention. This 3-month intervention program was designed by each community development association and delivered at the older adults' homes. A total of 87 older persons completed both waves of the interviews. Results: Loneliness was reduced (UCLA-6 Loneliness Scale scores decreased from 13.5 to 11.6), and loneliness literacy improved (loneliness literacy scores increased from 38.9 to 42.0) compared with what it was before the program. In a generalized linear model, when controlling for covariates, loneliness was reduced, but not significantly (B = −0.934, P > 0.05), whereas loneliness literacy improved significantly for older participants (B = 2.088, P < 0.05). Conclusions: Making friends with older adults who are lonely might improve their loneliness literacy. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2024; 24: 240–245.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-245
Number of pages6
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Volume24
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Keywords

  • loneliness
  • older people
  • social isolation
  • social support
  • volunteer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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