Older adults face particular risks of exclusion from social relationships (ESR) and are especially vulnerable to its consequences. However, research so far has been limited to specific dimensions, countries, and time points. In this paper, we examine the prevalence and micro- and macro-level predictors of ESR among older adults (60+) using two waves of data obtained four years apart across 14 European countries in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We consider four ESR indicators (household composition, social networks, social opportunities, and loneliness) and link them to micro-level (age, gender, socioeconomic factors, health, and family responsibilities) and national macro-level factors (social expenditures, unmet health needs, individualism, social trust, and institutional trust). Findings reveal a northwest to southeast gradient, with the lowest rates of ESR in the stronger welfare states of Northwest Europe. The high rates of ESR in the southeast are especially pronounced among women. Predictably, higher age and fewer personal resources (socioeconomic factors and health) increase the risk of all ESR dimensions for both genders. Macro-level factors show significant associations with ESR beyond the effect of micro-level factors, suggesting that national policies and cultural and structural characteristics may play a role in fostering sociability and connectivity and, thus, reduce the risk of ESR in later life.
There are numerous sociological and psychosocial studies, both classic and current, that have analysed the images and representations of older people and aging. If gender, intersectional and land perspectives are added, the literature consulted is only a few years old, particularly in Spanish. In addition, research based on fieldwork from virtual image banks is still scarce and recent. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the images from some free access image banks (like Freepik, Canva, Pixabay, or Storyblocks) of older people from a gender, intersectional and socio-spatial and land perspective. Methods: 150 images have been analysed following different selected criteria: 22 variables related to gender, activity, socio-spatial environment, natural space and land, among others, briefly describe the main methods or treatments applied. The key results show a stereotyped and barely diverse image of old age and aging around positive representations, with a notable absence of images related to loneliness as opposed to the presence of social relationships. A feminization has also been observed in the representations, with an imbalance in the activities that are carried out (care in the case of women and leisure in the case of men) and in the visible space (indoor among women and outdoor among men). Older people are still identified with a rural, traditional, and more defined territory and not with more diverse and ecological spaces, which are more frequently attributed to younger profiles. This evaluation contributes to linking this necessary connection of current issues and challenges to ageism, sexism and other exclusions derived from territory and socio-spatial aspects. However, more research is still needed, and, in fact, a second phase of the fieldwork is underway to broaden the sample and to expand further evaluations of images.
This paper investigates positive perceptions of ageing in rural people aged 65 and over as a key predictor of the self-assessment of one’s health. Method: The sample covers a total of 3389 people from the ‘Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement’ (SHARE), wave 6 (W6, 2015). This research analyses men and women who live in a rural environment. A linear regression model is proposed to consider the dependent variable ‘self-rated health’ and independent variables based on measures of quality of life in older adults. This study confirms that rural women perceive their health on the basis of factors different to those of their male contemporaries. The variable ‘How often do you feel/think that you can do the things that you want to do?’ is associated with women’s self-perceived health. In men, a high relationship (with p < 0.001) is obtained for the variables ‘How often do you feel/think look back on your life with a sense of happiness?’ and ‘How often do you feel/think that family responsibilities prevent you from doing what you want to do?’ Certain daily activities (e.g., leisure or care), along with a positive perception of life, influence one’s perceptions of one’s own health, especially in the case of women. In sum, rural older women make a positive evaluation of their own health and ageing, while rural older men relate self-rated health to passivity and reminiscing. There is a need for further research on psycho-social and socio-spatial issues from an intergenerational, technological and gender perspective for rural and territorial influences to attain better health and quality of life for rural older people in comparison to urban people.
This pilot study aims to analyze the effectiveness of a type of non-pharmacological intervention such as the educating and training of professional caregivers on behavioral alterations and prescription of psychotropic drugs of older adults in nursing homes. One hundred and forty-five people from two nursing homes were randomized to either treatment (educational training program for healthcare professionals) or a no-treatment group. Twenty-two professional caregivers in the experimental group received 20 h of a training program. Five data collection points were collected (pre and post, and three follow-ups, all six months apart). Intervention consisted of the behavioral alterations and psychopharmacological treatment. The analysis of variance for repeated measures showed significant differences in the time-group interaction for the educational program’s effectiveness in reducing behavior alterations and psycho-pharmaceuticals’ record. The results show that an improvement in the educating and training of professional caregivers can reduce behavioral alterations (F3,407 = 9.29, p < 0.001, η2= 0.063) and prescription of psychotropic drugs (F2,10 = 18.90, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.117). In addition, these effects are maintained over time. Educating health professionals on ways to care for residents who present behavioral alterations may be one alternative for improving the quality of care that residents receive. Non-pharmacological interventions, besides being individualized and adapted to the needs and experiences of individuals, achieve effects that last longer at low cost. An educational program shows new alternatives to pharmacological intervention, achieving a reduction in behavioral alterations without the costs and effects that psychopharmaceuticals entail.
Background: Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have been harmed by the coronavirus, and older adults have remained isolated for a long time with many restrictions. The aim of this study was to measure the decline in cognitive, functional, and affective status in a care facility after the lockdown in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and to compare it with previous measures in order to determine if this decline was accelerated. (2) Methods: Ninety-eight participants were recruited. Data from three retrospective pre-lockdown assessments and an additional post-lockdown assessment were analyzed. Mixed ANOVA analyses were performed according to the Clinical Dementia Rating levels, considering social-contact frequency during the lockdown as a covariate. (3) Results: The cognitive and functional scores were lower and depression scores were higher after the strict lockdown, accelerating a general pattern of decline that was already present in LTCF residents. The frequency of social contact eliminated the measurement differences in the cognitive and functional scores and the group differences in depression scores. (4) Conclusions: The effects of the SARS-CoV-2 lockdown in an LTCF were mediated by the frequency of contact. Clinical implications: Preventive measures must be taken to ensure social contact with relatives and friends and reduce the negative consequences of social isolation in LTCFs