Social networks and cognitive function in older adults receiving home- and community-based aged care

Joyce Siette*, Andrew Georgiou, Carol Brayne, Johanna I. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: Social engagement has been linked to preserved cognitive functioning in later life. Yet, little is known about the specific network factors that best predict cognitive function in older adults. This study aimed to (i) characterize the quality and quantity of interpersonal relationships and (ii) explore the relationship between social network types and cognitive function in older adults receiving home- and community-based aged care services. Methods: Participants (n = 175) receiving aged care services participated in a structured interview regarding their cognitive function (Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status-Modified), social networks (Lubben Social Network Scale-12) and quality of life (European Quality of Life Scale). Socio-demographic and aged care service use factors were obtained from provider electronic management systems. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between the size and composition of clients’ social networks, aged care service use and cognition. Results: The sample had a median age of 81 years (range 61-96) and most were women (65.8%). Over a third (37.6%) had cognitive impairment and reported moderately high social networks. Males had higher social networks, were receiving fewer hours but more types of services, and had significantly better cognitive performance. Age, network size and composition were not associated with cognitive performance. Discussion: More extensive social networks were associated with maintenance of cognitive health for older adults in community aged care. Whether this is causal or a marker of better cognitive health requires a longitudinal approach, and ideally should be tested with interventions at community levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104083
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume89
Early online date27 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Aged care service utilisation
  • cognitive performance
  • home care
  • quality of life
  • social care
  • social networks

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