One in four Swedes over 60 feel lonely

Published 5 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Sick and unemployed people are more likely to experience loneliness than others.

A quarter of people aged over 60 suffer from some form of loneliness, according to a new survey. In addition, younger people, people with disabilities and people who are sick or unemployed are more likely to experience loneliness than others.

On behalf of the government, the Swedish National Board of Health (Socialstyrelsen) has compiled research and data to map involuntary loneliness in Sweden and identify the link between loneliness and health.

About 26 per cent of people aged 60 and over report moderate problems and eight per cent report severe problems with loneliness. Feelings of loneliness are also more common among people aged 16-29, single people, people with disabilities and people who are out of the labour force due to illness or unemployment. For example, half of single people reported problems with loneliness, compared with one in five of those living together.

Depression and suicidal thoughts

The survey also highlights several risk factors associated with loneliness, including an increased risk of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. It also notes that loneliness increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

– Both research and Swedish studies show the clear link between loneliness and ill health. For example, prolonged loneliness can contribute to depression and cardiovascular disease. This is worrying and important to try to change, says Hillevi Busch, researcher at the National Board of Health in Sweden.

The survey, carried out in collaboration with the National Board of Health and Welfare, presents results from Swedish studies, international research and a description of initiatives by the authorities, regions, municipalities and non-profit organisations.

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