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Very Old, Widowed and Single Men Living Alone: The effect of residence, retirement village vs. the community, on social interactions, friendships and loneliness

Buys, Laurie & Miller, Evonne (2004) Very Old, Widowed and Single Men Living Alone: The effect of residence, retirement village vs. the community, on social interactions, friendships and loneliness. In Bailey, C., Cabrera, D., & Buys, L. (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, Centre for Social Change Research, 29th October, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.

Abstract

This exploratory study investigates the impact of residence on the social networks reported by very old (75 years+) single and widowed men who live alone, either in the community (n=26) or an independent living unit in a retirement village (n=24). With research suggesting that older men living alone are most at risk for experiencing social isolation, this study investigates whether living in a retirement village, surrounded by same-age peers, might ameliorate loneliness by facilitating social interactions. Participants living in the community and retirement villages reported their overall loneliness, contact with friends and their satisfaction with that contact. The results indicated that, regardless of residence, older men living alone report minimal levels of telephone and face-to-face contact with friends. However, when contact with other residents is included, compared to their peers in the community, older men living alone in retirement villages reported twice the number of social interactions. Additionally, although not a statistically significant difference, older men living alone in the community reported greater loneliness and were less satisfied with the amount of contact they had with friends than retirement village residents. With researchers repeatedly linking social interactions with better mental and physical health, the finding that living in a retirement village fosters social interactions suggests that where older people chose to live may positively affect their overall wellbeing. Given the scarcity of published research comparing life in a retirement village with life at home in the community, the findings of this exploratory study highlight the need to further research issues of ageing among older men.

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ID Code: 631
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: older men, social interactions, friendships, residence choice, single, widowed and unmarried older men, retirement village, loneliness
ISBN: 1741070813
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Laurie Buys and Evonne Miller
Deposited On: 21 Dec 2004
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:06

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