Prevalence of Loneliness and Depression among Elderly in South India
Keywords:elderly, prevalence, loneliness, depression.
Introduction: ‘Old age’ considered as the least desirable phase of the life cycle and is characterized by
financial, health, social and other problems. About 10% of the people over 65 years in community have signs
of depression. The most common emotional disorder in the elderly population is depression, mostly caused
due to loneliness, which is often overlooked by health care professional and family members.
Objectives: The objectives of the study were to assess the prevalence of loneliness and depression among
elderly and to associate the selected background variables with loneliness and depression.
Methods: The research design adopted for this study was descriptive study design. The study was conducted
among 300 subjects to assess the prevalence of loneliness and depression among elderly.
Findings: The study results revealed that majority of elderly 43.3% had experienced moderate loneliness,
41.3% of elderly severe loneliness and 15.3% of elderly had mild loneliness. With regard to level of
depression among elderly 52.0% had mild depression, 40.0% had severe depression and 8.0% of elderly had
no depression. A statistically significant association was identified between the loneliness among elderly
with regard to age, marital status, education, living status, economic dependency and between the depression
among elderly with regard to age, education, living status and economic dependency at p<0.001 level.
Conclusion: This study brought into light that majority of the rural elderly population experienced mild
loneliness and depression. Thus, active measures have to be initiated among family members and health care
professionals to combat this dual problem of loneliness and depression among elderly population and aid
them to live a life with happiness and satisfaction.