Background: Loneliness is a common problem among older populations, and very few studies have examined loneliness among older adults in Taiwan. Aim: This study aimed to understand the prevalence of loneliness and factors associated with it among older adults in Taiwan. Methods: Data from the Taiwan Longitudinal Study of Aging collected in 2015 were analyzed and involved 4588 participants aged ≥65 years. The outcome variable was a self-reported loneliness question, and independent variables included demographic characteristics, a self-reported health status, physical function, number of comorbidities, cognitive function, and social support. A multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors of loneliness. Results: The prevalence of loneliness among older adults in Taiwan was 10.5%. The multivariate logistic regression showed that old persons who were male, lived alone, perceived that they had a poor health condition, had no spouse, had no job, and had poor emotional support had higher likelihood of feeling lonely. Conclusions: This study investigated loneliness in a nationally representative sample of older adults and revealed that one-tenth of this older population might experience loneliness which requires immediate action. Special attention should be given to the aforesaid factors in older adults to identify problems and provide interventions as early as possible in order to prevent loneliness and thus reduce the resultant negative effects on physical and mental conditions. Appropriate interventions should be developed to prevent or ameliorate feelings of loneliness among older populations using rigorous research designs such as randomized controlled trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas