Eenzaamheid en sociale isolatie bij ouderen herkennen

Klinische les
Natasja Schutter, Tjalling J. Holwerda en Paul Naarding

Dames en Heren,

In de afgelopen decennia is steeds duidelijker geworden dat eenzaamheid en sociale isolatie bij ouderen veel voorkomen. Deze omstandigheden kunnen ongunstige effecten hebben op zowel de lichamelijke als de geestelijke gezondheid. Hoe zijn die te herkennen? En wat kun je eraan doen?

Recognizing loneliness and social isolation in older adults

Loneliness and social isolation are highly prevalent conditions in older adults. Both have been associated with negative consequences for both mental and physical health. Additionally, both can be either a cause or a consequence of a psychiatric disorder. Unfortunately, health practitioners often fail to recognize loneliness and social isolation, in spite of the care needs in older adults that exist with respect to these conditions. We recommend a structural assessment, for example by using a questionnaire or a sociogram. However, the question ‘do you feel lonely?’ can give a reasonable estimation of the presence of loneliness. Some categories of patients are especially vulnerable for the occurrence of loneliness or social isolation, such as caregivers, patients with functional disabilities, and psychiatric patients. According to systematic reviews, personalized treatment intervention is recommended.

Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.