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Social engagement and healthy ageing in disadvantaged communities

Social engagement and healthy ageing in disadvantaged communities Purpose – Social engagement is important for healthy ageing but may be challenging for residents of disadvantaged urban communities. For older residents of one such community, this project aimed to examine levels of social engagement and its link with wellbeing and community attachment. Design/methodology/approach – The project introduced activities to promote social engagement and used a survey to assess participants' wider involvement in local activities and their feelings of wellbeing and community attachment. Findings – Sixty five people completed the survey: most lived alone (over 69 per cent) but had contact at least monthly with family, friends and neighbours (over 70 per cent) and made regular use of local amenities (over 79 per cent). Only 34.7 per cent were classified as “not lonely” and participants' mean health related quality of life score was lower than the national average. However, over 65 per cent of participants rated their generic quality of life as good or better and over 67 per cent had a positive sense of community attachment. Statistically significant associations were identified between a person's feelings of loneliness and generic quality of life and their level of contact with relatives, neighbours and friends and their sense of community attachment. Originality/value – Results confirm the need for strategies to promote the social engagement of older people. The link between community attachment and wellbeing also demonstrates that community wide strategies are required. The importance of maintaining the “corner shop” was evident. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality in Ageing and Older Adults Emerald Publishing

Social engagement and healthy ageing in disadvantaged communities

Quality in Ageing and Older Adults , Volume 14 (1): 13 – Mar 8, 2013

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1471-7794
DOI
10.1108/14717791311311076
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Social engagement is important for healthy ageing but may be challenging for residents of disadvantaged urban communities. For older residents of one such community, this project aimed to examine levels of social engagement and its link with wellbeing and community attachment. Design/methodology/approach – The project introduced activities to promote social engagement and used a survey to assess participants' wider involvement in local activities and their feelings of wellbeing and community attachment. Findings – Sixty five people completed the survey: most lived alone (over 69 per cent) but had contact at least monthly with family, friends and neighbours (over 70 per cent) and made regular use of local amenities (over 79 per cent). Only 34.7 per cent were classified as “not lonely” and participants' mean health related quality of life score was lower than the national average. However, over 65 per cent of participants rated their generic quality of life as good or better and over 67 per cent had a positive sense of community attachment. Statistically significant associations were identified between a person's feelings of loneliness and generic quality of life and their level of contact with relatives, neighbours and friends and their sense of community attachment. Originality/value – Results confirm the need for strategies to promote the social engagement of older people. The link between community attachment and wellbeing also demonstrates that community wide strategies are required. The importance of maintaining the “corner shop” was evident.

Journal

Quality in Ageing and Older AdultsEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 8, 2013

Keywords: Active ageing; Community services for the elderly; Social isolation; Health promotion; Survey research; Community based participatory research; Urban areas; Disadvantaged groups

References