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October 2021

Activity, friendships and wellbeing in residential settings for older people

Author(s): Harrison, G., Lee, K.

Journal/Book: Aging Ment Health. 1999; 3: PO Box 25, Abingdon Ox14 3Ue, Oxfordshire, England. Carfax Publ Co. 143-152.

Abstract: Friendships have been demonstrated to influence an individual's psychological wellbeing. This paper reports an investigation into whether friendships influence the psychological wellbeing of residents in long-stay care settings for older people. The study consisted of the observational assessment of activity in 64 residents drawn from three care settings, together with brief structured interviews assessing self-reports of friendships and psychological wellbeing. Results indicated that non-intimate friendships were more common than close friendships. Activity levels were higher in residents with good friends compared to residents without good friends, but the degree of difference was dependent on the home in which the resident lived. Neither activity levels nor friendships were associated with residents' wellbeing. Qualitative analysis of fieldnotes indicated that the pattern of friendships found in the residential settings was influenced by resident choice, the prevailing care regime and aspects of the physical environment. Results are discussed in relation to disengagement theory, the importance of reminiscence in later life, and methodological issues in the measurement of wellbeing in older people.

Note: Article McKee KJ, Univ Sheffield, Ctr Ageing & Rehabil Studies, Community Sci Ctr, No Gen Hosp, Herrries Rd, Sheffield S5 7AU, S Yorkshire, ENGLAND


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