Social vulnerability, mental health and correlates of frailty in older outpatients living alone in the community in Italy

Claudio Bilotta, Alessandra Casé, Paola Nicolini, Sabrina Mauri, Manuela Castelli, Carlo Vergani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the main social, functional and clinical characteristics of community-dwelling older outpatients living alone and to find correlates of frailty in this population. Method: Cross-sectional survey of 302 community-dwelling outpatients aged 65+ (median age 82 years) consecutively referred to a geriatric medicine clinic in Italy from June to November 2009. Participants underwent a comprehensive geriatric assessment including frailty status evaluated by means of the study of osteoporotic fractures (SOF) criteria. Student's t-test and the chi-squared test were used to compare subjects 'living alone' and 'not living alone' as well as 'frail' and 'not frail' subjects among the participants living alone. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to find independent correlates of frailty among participants living alone. Results: Participants 'living alone' were 124 (41%). Compared to subjects 'not living alone' (n = 178), they were older, received less assistance from informal and formal caregivers, had poorer living and financial conditions, a better cognitive status and functional self-sufficiency but a worse emotional status. One-third of them (n = 41) were frail. Among frail elders (n = 116), subjects living alone also showed a higher prevalence of unexpected new diagnoses of dementia than those not living alone. Independent correlates of frailty among participants living alone were: having experienced a severe acute disease in the past year (odds ratio [OR] 303.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] 13-7091; p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1036
Number of pages13
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • bathing disability
  • dementia
  • depression
  • frailty
  • incontinence
  • living alone
  • older outpatients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)


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