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Care of the older person
Loneliness in care homes, is it a phenomenon? And what can we do to improve the situation?
  1. Patricia Schofield
  1. Department of Health & Well-being, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Patricia Schofield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK; patricia.schofield{at}

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Commentary on: Clare G, Pete L, Tim H, et al. What is the prevalence of loneliness amongst older people living in residential and nursing care homes? Age & Ageing 2020;49(5):748–57.doi: 10.1093/ageing/afaa049.

Implications for practice and research

  • Staff working in care homes need to apply strategies to negate the impact of loneliness among their population, underpinned by strong research evidence.

  • New ways of delivery for social interaction need to be explored.


The care home population are generally considered the most, frail and vulnerable within our population. Prevalence of severe loneliness among older people living in care homes is at least double that of community-dwelling populations: 22%–42% for the care population compared with 10% for the community population.1 But the evidence highlighting this issue is limited and a neglected area of research. Nevertheless, an awareness that loneliness and deteriorating health …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.