To the Editor We read with great enthusiasm the original investigation by Dr Shah and colleagues,1 who reported that identifiable social support was associated with a lower likelihood of prolonged nursing home stay among older adults living alone in the presence of a health shock. Recent estimates indicate that as many as 43.6 million older adults worldwide had no spouse or children, and 4.4 million older adults had no spouse, children, or siblings.2 Given the world’s aging population and the rising number of older adults living alone, we believe that the conclusions of Dr Shah and colleagues1 are critical and of enormous public health importance. These findings on the association of social support and nursing home stays will help draw attention to this growing, vulnerable, and underserved segment of older adults, as well as lay the groundwork for future research and policy development on aging.
He M, Luo M, Huang J. Follow-up Duration and Gender Differences in Study of Older Adults Living Alone. JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182(5):566. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.0058
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