Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between aspects of social capital and loneliness among the very old living at home and in institutional settings.
Method: Half of those aged 85 years, and all 90- and 95-year-olds and older in urban and rural municipalities in northern Sweden and western Finland were invited to participate in a cross-sectional population-based study in 2005-2007. A sample of 483 participants who completed the study was included in the analyses.
Results: Loneliness was experienced by 55% percent of those living in institutional settings often or sometimes and 45% of those living in their own homes. Loneliness was closely related to living alone, to depression, and to region (northern Sweden).
Discussion: Social capital and loneliness are context dependent (i.e., geographical or living environment). Among the very old, the link between social capital resources and loneliness is also highly influenced by health status.
Keywords: Finland; Sweden; loneliness; social capital; very old.