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Publication Detail
A longitudinal analysis of loneliness, social isolation and falls amongst older people in England.
Loneliness and social isolation have been identified as important predictors of various health outcomes, but little research has investigated their influence on falls. This study aimed to investigate the longitudinal association between loneliness, social isolation and falls amongst older adults in England, looking at both self-reported falls and falls that require hospital admissions. This study drew on large scale, nationally representative data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing linked with Hospital Episode Statistics. Data were analysed using survival analysis, with self-reported falls (total sample = 4013) and falls require hospital admission being modelled separately (total sample = 9285). There was a 5% increase in the hazard of self-reported falls relative to one point increase in loneliness independent of socio-demographic factors (HR: 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02-1.08), but the association was explained away by individual differences in health and life-style measures (HR: 1.03, 95% CI: 1.00-1.07). Both living alone (HR: 1.18, 95% CI: 1.07-1.32) and low social contact (HR: 1.04, 95% CI: 1.01-1.07) were associated with a greater hazard of self-reported falls even after controlling for socio-demographic, health and life-style differences. Similar results were also found for hospital admissions following a fall. Our findings were robust to a variety of model specifications.
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