Social Isolation, Physical Capacity, and Physical Activity in Older Community-Dwelling Adults Post-Hospitalization

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This paper investigated the potential relationships between physical capacity and physical activity (recreational and household) with social isolation amongst older adults. Data for hospitalized Victorians (n = 311) were analyzed in univariable, multivariable and latent growth curve analyses over six months. Measures included items from the Friendship Scale, Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6), Australian Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers Household (SDAC), and Phone-FITT. Over six months, improvements in physical capacity were related to reduced social isolation (−0.65, CI = −1.21, −0.09). Increased total (0.02, CI = 0.004, 0.04) and household-based physical activity (0.03, CI = 0.001, 0.06) were related to contact with more relatives. Higher baseline household-based physical activity was related to contact with fewer relatives (−0.01, CI = −0.02, −0.001). Along with physical capacity and activity, household-based physical activity appears to be strongly related to social isolation. Further research is required to determine the direction of relationships, to provide evidence for effective interventions.

Robins and Lalor are with the Dept. of Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Robins, Brown, Lalor, and McDermott are with Allied Health Research Unit, Kingston Centre, Monash Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Brown is with the Dept. of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Stolwyk is with Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences, Attention and Memory Program, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.McDermott is with School of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Haines is with Allied Health Research Unit, Monash Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and Southern Physiotherapy Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Lauren M. Robins at Lauren.robins@monash.edu.
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