Examining the connectivity between ageing and social isolation in Ghana: patterns and predictors from WHO's multi-country study

Doris Ottie-Boakye, University of Ghana
Margaret Appiah, Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) and Carolina Population Centre
Reuben T. Larbi, University of Ghana
John K. Anarfi, University of Ghana

Social isolation among the elderly, a public health concern, is linked to depressive symptoms and ageing. Although, the incessant transformations of traditional African societies have affected its social, cultural and care support for the elderly, using a methodical nationally representative to examine social isolation has received less attention among this group. This paper uses information from WHO’s SAGE Wave 1 data for Ghana conducted in 2007-2008 comprising 535 aged >=60years to examine the patterns and risk factors associated with social isolation measured utilizing 10 indicators . Respectively, one in every two respondents reported to have experienced stress and sleeping disorders. However,24% experienced suicidal tendencies. Household socioeconomic status had a robust association with being socially isolated in relation to loss of appetite, suicidal tendencies and decrease in sex interest. Further research using phenomenological approaches to understand and explain study findings is paramount in strengthening social support care mechanisms for the elderly.

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Presented in Poster Session 3