Single men over 50 most socially isolated, says study

 

Charlie Cooper
Monday 15 October 2012 11:40
Comments

One in six people in England over the age of 50 are socially isolated, play little part in the cultural or civic life of their society and have abandoned socially-oriented hobbies, according to a sobering new study into our ageing society.

Single men were found are the group most likely group to live a solitary, cut-off life after 50, while the poorer someone is, the more likely they are to lose touch with their social network in old age.

The findings come in the latest report of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), an extensive, long-term investigation into the effects of ageing on the population’s economic, social and psychological life. The study, which is led by researchers at University College London (UCL), has followed 10,000 participants since 2002.

Analysing the impact ageing has on individuals social engagement, researchers found that social isolation is more common in rural areas and that poor access to transport links was a major factor in cutting off older people. Decreased participation in leisure activities was another cause of isolation – particularly among women.

The report also revealed an extraordinary link between enjoyment of life in younger years, and a healthy, social old age. Participants who said they were enjoying life when surveyed ten years ago were not only more likely to still be alive ten years later, but had a lesser chance of developing serious illnesses, disabilities and even reduced walking speeds. Three times as many people in the “lower enjoyment” group of people surveyed ten years ago, had died in the intervening years, than people in the “greater enjoyment” group.

The groundbreaking study is a joint project between UCL, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, NatCen Social Research and the University of Manchester.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in