Increasingly, policymakers assume that informal networks will provide care for frail older people. While the literature has mainly discussed the role of the family, broader social networks are also considered to be important. However, these social networks can diminish in later life. This systematic review investigates whether the social environment increases the risk of frailty or helps to prevent it. Findings from 15 original studies were classified using five different factors, which denoted five dimensions of the social environment: (a) social networks, (b) social support, (c) social participation, (d) subjective neighborhood experience, and (e) socioeconomic neighborhood characteristics. The discussion highlights that the social environment and frailty are indeed related, and how the neighborhood dimensions and social participation had more consistent results than social support and social networks. Conclusively, recommendations are formulated to contemplate all dimensions of the social environment for further research examining frailty and community care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • aging in place, frailty, later life, social environment, systematic review

ID: 28812525