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Relationships between non-communicable disease, social isolation and frailty in community dwelling adults in later life: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study

Relationships between non-communicable disease, social isolation and frailty in community dwelling adults in later life: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study
Relationships between non-communicable disease, social isolation and frailty in community dwelling adults in later life: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study
Background: social relationships play a fundamental role in individuals’ lives and health, and social isolation is prevalent among older people. Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and frailty are also common in older adults.

Aims: to examine the association between number of NCDs and social isolation in a cohort of community-dwelling older adults in the UK, and to consider whether any potential association is mediated by frailty.

Methods: NCDs were self-reported by 176 older community-dwelling UK adults via questionnaire. Social isolation was assessed using the six-item Lubben Social Network Scale. Frailty was assessed by the Fried phenotype of physical frailty.

Results: the median (IQR) age of participants in this study was 83.1 (81.5-85.5) years for men and 83.8 (81.5-85.9) years for women. The proportion of socially isolated individuals was 19% in men and 20% in women. More women (18%) than men (13%) were identified as frail. The number of NCDs was associated with higher odds of being isolated in women (unadjusted odds ratio per additional NCD: 1.65, 95% CI 1.08, 2.52, p=0.021), but not in men, and the association remained robust to adjustment, even when accounting for frailty (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.06, 3.22, p=0.031).

Discussion: number of self-reported NCDs was associated with higher odds of social isolation in women but not in men, and the association remained after considering frailty status.

Conclusions: our observations may be considered by healthcare professionals caring for community-dwelling older adults with multiple NCDs, where enquiring about social isolation as part of a comprehensive assessment may be important.
Ageing, Frailty, Multimorbidity, Non-communicable diseases, Older people, Social Isolation
1594-0667
105-112
Bevilacqua, Gregorio
e93e3b18-7d1e-4da5-9fcd-e6b4637e1c2e
Jameson, Karen A
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Zhang, Jean
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Bloom, Ilse
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Fuggle, Nicholas
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Patel, Harnish
e1c0826f-d14e-49f3-8049-5b945d185523
Ward, Kate
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Cooper, Cyrus
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Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1
Bevilacqua, Gregorio
e93e3b18-7d1e-4da5-9fcd-e6b4637e1c2e
Jameson, Karen A
d5fb142d-06af-456e-9016-17497f94e9f2
Zhang, Jean
437abe90-46ac-46de-8183-042c36ed3398
Bloom, Ilse
af2a38ab-3255-414d-afa1-e3089ee45e3f
Fuggle, Nicholas
9ab0c81a-ac67-41c4-8860-23e0fdb1a900
Patel, Harnish
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Ward, Kate
39bd4db1-c948-4e32-930e-7bec8deb54c7
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1

Bevilacqua, Gregorio, Jameson, Karen A, Zhang, Jean, Bloom, Ilse, Fuggle, Nicholas, Patel, Harnish, Ward, Kate, Cooper, Cyrus and Dennison, Elaine (2022) Relationships between non-communicable disease, social isolation and frailty in community dwelling adults in later life: findings from the Hertfordshire Cohort Study. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, 34 (1), 105-112. (doi:10.1007/s40520-021-02026-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: social relationships play a fundamental role in individuals’ lives and health, and social isolation is prevalent among older people. Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and frailty are also common in older adults.

Aims: to examine the association between number of NCDs and social isolation in a cohort of community-dwelling older adults in the UK, and to consider whether any potential association is mediated by frailty.

Methods: NCDs were self-reported by 176 older community-dwelling UK adults via questionnaire. Social isolation was assessed using the six-item Lubben Social Network Scale. Frailty was assessed by the Fried phenotype of physical frailty.

Results: the median (IQR) age of participants in this study was 83.1 (81.5-85.5) years for men and 83.8 (81.5-85.9) years for women. The proportion of socially isolated individuals was 19% in men and 20% in women. More women (18%) than men (13%) were identified as frail. The number of NCDs was associated with higher odds of being isolated in women (unadjusted odds ratio per additional NCD: 1.65, 95% CI 1.08, 2.52, p=0.021), but not in men, and the association remained robust to adjustment, even when accounting for frailty (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.06, 3.22, p=0.031).

Discussion: number of self-reported NCDs was associated with higher odds of social isolation in women but not in men, and the association remained after considering frailty status.

Conclusions: our observations may be considered by healthcare professionals caring for community-dwelling older adults with multiple NCDs, where enquiring about social isolation as part of a comprehensive assessment may be important.

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ACER-D-21-00873_Main Document_Revision - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 7 November 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 November 2021
Published date: January 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: This work was funded by the Medical Research Council. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).
Keywords: Ageing, Frailty, Multimorbidity, Non-communicable diseases, Older people, Social Isolation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 452191
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/452191
ISSN: 1594-0667
PURE UUID: 4e1decbd-aad0-49ef-ab8e-dbc256328baa
ORCID for Gregorio Bevilacqua: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7819-1482
ORCID for Ilse Bloom: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4893-1790
ORCID for Nicholas Fuggle: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5463-2255
ORCID for Harnish Patel: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0081-1802
ORCID for Kate Ward: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7034-6750
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for Elaine Dennison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-4961

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Date deposited: 29 Nov 2021 17:32
Last modified: 19 Dec 2023 03:02

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Contributors

Author: Gregorio Bevilacqua ORCID iD
Author: Karen A Jameson
Author: Jean Zhang
Author: Ilse Bloom ORCID iD
Author: Nicholas Fuggle ORCID iD
Author: Harnish Patel ORCID iD
Author: Kate Ward ORCID iD
Author: Cyrus Cooper ORCID iD
Author: Elaine Dennison ORCID iD

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