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Report: Measuring Social Connection and Social Isolation

This report is designed to provide those working with older adults as well as older adults and family/friends with information on how to define and measure social connection and social isolation.

As no two people are alike and every person’s social situation is different, measurement tools can help reveal each person’s social situation. Ideally, assessment can help bring to light people’s social strengths as well as limitations which, in turn, can guide efforts to support the person. Regular check-ins and assessment can also help show whether and how somebody’s social situation is changing over time.

Download and read the full report here (PDF):  Measuring Social Connection and Social Isolation

Quick Summary

In this report we first discuss social connection and social isolation and some of the ways to foster social connection including:

  • Interacting with social network members (social networks)

  • Participating in social activities and wider community (social participation)

  • Having people who support us in different ways (social support)

  • Feeling connected and satisfied with relationships (being rarely or not lonely)


Next, we present three measurement scales of social connection and social isolation. Each scale is multidimensional and taps into different dimensions as follows:

  • Structural Social Isolation Scale (5 items)

>> measures social networks and social participation

  • Lubben Social Networks Scale (6 items)

>> measures social networks and social support

  • CARED Assessment Tool (5 items)  (5 items)

>> measures social networks, social participation, social support, and loneliness

Having a shared understanding of concepts and measures is an important aspect of preventing and addressing social isolation and loneliness among older adults.

>>Stay tuned as we share more resources on measures and assessment tools here:


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