First Clinical Guidelines to Equip Healthcare and Social Service Professionals to Address Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults

In collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of subject matter experts, the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) has developed first of their kind clinical guidelines to address social isolation and loneliness in older adults.

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2024 /CNW/ – Canadian health care and social service professionals now have access to clinical tools and resources to better support older adults who may be at risk of, or already experiencing, social isolation and loneliness.

Launch of first Canadian Clinical Guidelines on Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)Launch of first Canadian Clinical Guidelines on Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)

Launch of first Canadian Clinical Guidelines on Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health)

Developed by the CCSMH and led by Baycrest geriatric psychiatrist Dr. David Conn (professor at the University of Toronto) and an interdisciplinary Working Group comprising of experts from across Canada, the Canadian Clinical Guidelines on Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults provides 17 evidence-based recommendations health care and social service professionals should consider for their practice. The guidelines provide recommendations on prevention, screening, assessment and interventions for social isolation and loneliness among seniors. Older adults can also benefit from a variety of new resources, like this brochure developed to support them to address the potential physical and mental impacts of social isolation and loneliness.

Discover the new guidelines and resources empowering health care and social service professionals, older adults and care partners nationwide.

Social isolation and loneliness have emerged as key elements affecting the physical and mental well-being of older adults across Canada. Research has compared living with social isolation and loneliness to the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The implications of these issues extend beyond emotional well-being, impacting overall health outcomes, exacerbating chronic conditions and increasing the risk of mortality.

As older adults age, they face life transitions, such as retirement or loss of spouse or partner that may contribute to the risk of becoming socially isolated or lonely. “There are many factors that can contribute to the association between loneliness and social isolation and mental and physical illnesses, particularly among older adults,” says Dr. David Conn, Co-chair of the CCSMH. “The impacts of social isolation and loneliness can be mitigated with the right knowledge, training and resources. These guidelines are an important step forward in that direction.”

“We are excited to be part of a growing global effort to address social isolation and loneliness among older adults,” says Claire Checkland, Executive Director of CCSMH. “It’s encouraging that so many governments, organizations and clinicians are taking meaningful action.”

Quick Facts:

  • Social isolation and loneliness among older adults can vary by age:

    • o As many as 41% of Canadians aged 50 years and older are at risk of social isolation. Up to 58% have experienced loneliness.

    • o Among Canadians aged 50-64 years, almost one in four (23%) are very lonely. Another 41% are somewhat lonely.

  • Worldwide, 25% of older adults are socially isolated, according to the World Health Organization.

  • Some of the health risks of isolation and loneliness among adults over 50 include:

    • o 32% increased risk of stroke

    • o 25% increased risk of cancer mortality

    • o 50% increased risk of developing dementia

Additional Information

In 2022, a working group was formed to research and develop the guidelines. This interdisciplinary group consisted of leading subject matter experts in the study of social isolation and loneliness among older adults from across Canada. Members met over 18 months to advance this work by offering their clinical, research and professional expertise, evaluating research evidence, voting on recommendations, and writing the guidelines.

About the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH)

The Coalition’s mission is to promote the mental health of older adults by connecting people, ideas and resources. The CCSMH is dedicated to advancing the mental well-being of older adults across all settings. As the sole national organization focusing on mental health for older adults, the Coalition is committed to nurturing and growing a coalition of organizations and individuals that, together, will shine a light on the issues surrounding mental health and well-being of older adults. The CCSMH began as a project of the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry (CAGP) and continues to operate with the CAGP Board of Directors oversight.

www.ccsmh.ca

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Backgrounder - for Older Adults and Care Partners (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)Backgrounder - for Older Adults and Care Partners (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)

Backgrounder – for Older Adults and Care Partners (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health)

Backgrounder - for Health Care Professionals (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)Backgrounder - for Health Care Professionals (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)

Backgrounder – for Health Care Professionals (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health)

Bilingual logo - Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health
Coalition canadienne pour la santé mentale des personnes âgées (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)Bilingual logo - Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health
Coalition canadienne pour la santé mentale des personnes âgées (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health)

Bilingual logo – Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health Coalition canadienne pour la santé mentale des personnes âgées (CNW Group/Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health)

SOURCE Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health

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