Purpose: To use the University of California Los Angeles Loneliness Scale Version 3 to (a) explore and compare the levels of loneliness experienced between two groups of older adults (aged 40 years and over) with cerebral palsy, a group who use natural speech to communicate and a group who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and (b) to test the reliability of the UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) when used with the older adults with cerebral palsy who use a variety of communication modes.
Method: The UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) was administered twice to two groups of older participants with cerebral palsy. Group 1 consisted of 11 participants who used natural speech and Group 2 consisted of nine participants who used augmentative and alternative communication systems. The scores from the second assessment were used to calculate test retest reliability.
Results: The mean loneliness scores for the two groups indicated that older people with cerebral palsy experience more loneliness than older adults without disability. There was no significant difference between the scores of Groups 1 and 2. The UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) is a reliable tool for use with people who communicate using a variety of communication modes.
Conclusions: The UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3) items are pertinent to participants' perceived satisfaction with the quantity and quality of their relationships with others. Policy makers, service providers and the general community have a responsibility to ensure that older people with cerebral palsy are given the support they need to achieve satisfactory relationships and thus facilitate a good quality of life as they age.