Loneliness and self-management abilities in the visually impaired elderly.

ABSTRACT. Objectives: To describe the degree of loneliness among the visually impaired elderly and to make a comparison with a matched reference group of the normally sighted elderly. In addition, we examined self-management abilities (SMAs) as determinants of loneliness among the visually impaired elderly. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 173 visually impaired elderly persons completed telephone interviews. Loneliness and SMAs were assessed with the Loneliness Scale of De Jong Gierveld and the SMAS-30, respectively. Results: The prevalence of loneliness among the visually impaired elderly was higher compared to the reference group (50% vs 29%; pG.001). Multivariate hierarchical regression analysis showed that the SMA self-efficacy, partner status, and self-esteem were determinants of loneliness. Severity and duration of visual impairment had no effect on loneliness. Discussion: The relationship between SMAs (i.e., self-efficacy) and loneliness is promising, since SMAs can be learned through training. Consequently, selfmanagement training may reduce feelings of loneliness.