Factors Affecting Loneliness as a Medical Problem in the Elderly: A Systematic Review
Introduction: To plan an appropriate program for the prevention and control of loneliness in the elderly, it is necessary to first identify the risk factors associated with loneliness. Therefore, the present systematic review study intended to determine the causative factors of loneliness in the elderly. Materials/Methods: To select appropriate previous research for the present review study, several Persian and English studies during 2005-2015 were reviewed through systematic search using keywords ‘’loneliness, elderly, risk factors, systematic review’’ in the databases of Psyc INFO, Scopus, Elsevier, Pub Med as well as advanced search on Google Scholar. Regarding the inclusion and exclusion criteria derived from 77 articles, the present study ultimately reviewed 21 articles. Results: After searching the aforesaid websites and databases, 77 articles were found, 56 of which were excluded from the study due to their inconsistency with the current inclusion criteria. Eventually, 21 articles were selected, 11 of which were reviewed for the risk factors of loneliness. Amongst the reviewed articles, 4 had had an investigation into loneliness reduction strategies and 6 had specifically investigated the effects of loneliness on the elderly. According to the review results of the selected studies, loneliness has been considered as a major factor in the quality of life of the elderly. Conclusion: The present study determined the most important causative factors affecting loneliness in the elderly in different areas. Recognizing these effective factors, many healthcare providers will be able to provide effective care to this group in order to deal with the phenomenon of loneliness.
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