Making the Economic Case for Investing in Actions to Prevent and/or Tackle Loneliness: A Systematic Review

September 2017

Making the economic case for investing in actions to prevent and or tackle loneliness

Over the centuries philosophers and writers have spoken about loneliness being a fundamental part of the human condition. It can be thought of as a subjective, unpleasant, and distressing phenomenon resulting from a discrepancy between an individual’s desired and achieved levels of social relations. We all can expect to experience loneliness from time to time, but this does not mean that we can dismiss loneliness as being an issue of little importance. Chronic loneliness can have a major adverse impact on mental and physical health.

There are many costs to individuals, their families and society that arise from poor health. A systematic review was undertaken, firstly to better understand what is known about the cost effectiveness of interventions to prevent and/or tackle loneliness experienced by older people, and secondly to understand what types of methods and approaches have been used to cost and /or value impacts of interventions on loneliness. The review covered the last ten years; interventions needed to focus on individuals aged 55 and over, regardless of health or disability status, or on volunteers or family members supporting this population group. 20,108 records were initially identified and after filtering more than 50 papers were included in the review.

Client: Campaign to End Loneliness (Independent Age)

Authors: David McDaid, Annette Bauer & A-La Park

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