Social needs of older people: A systematic literature review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Social needs are important basic human needs. When social needs are not satisfied, this can lead to mental and physical health problems. With a growing population of older adults and the need for them to stay healthy and community-dwelling, satisfying social needs is important. The aim of this review is to give more insight into the social needs of older people and subsequently into the characteristics of effective interventions for satisfying older people's social needs. A systematic review of the existing literature on quantitative, qualitative and mixed empirical studies on the social needs of older people was conducted. The themes that emerged were diversity, proximity, meaning of the relationship and reciprocity. These themes offered several intervention implications. Participation in hobbies and in volunteer work and being connected were among the main findings. The social needs of older people are diverse. They focus on both the intimate and the peripheral members of their networks. When satisfying social needs, reciprocity is important. The feeling of connectedness to others and to a community or neighbourhood contributes to wellbeing as well as a feeling of independence. Staying active by doing volunteer work or participating in (leisure) social activities satisfies social needs. Therefore, interventions should focus especially on the connectedness, participation and independence of the older adult.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1745-1770
JournalAgeing & Society
Volume38
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • ADULTS
  • CONNECTEDNESS
  • FOLLOW-UP
  • HEALTH-STATUS
  • LATER LIFE
  • LONELINESS
  • MORTALITY
  • NETWORKS
  • PARTICIPATION
  • SUPPORT
  • Social Production Function Theory of Successful Aging
  • interventions
  • older adults
  • social convoy model
  • social needs
  • socio-emotional selectivity theory

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