Background: The neighborhood social environment has been identified as an important aspect of older people’swell-being. Poor neighborhood conditions can pose difficulties in obtaining support, especially for older people who live alone. Although social environments have been found to be related to well-being among older people,the longitudinal relationship between the social environment and well-being remains poorly undestood. Research on the effects of changes in neighborhood characteristics, such as social cohesion and social belonging, on well-beingis lacking. Therefore, the study aims are (i) describe social cohesion, social belonging, and instrumental goals to achievewell-being among community-dwelling older people, (ii) determine whether these factors varied according toneighborhood social deprivation and compare these findings to those from chronically ill/previously hospitalized older people, and (iii) identify longitudinal relationships between social cohesion and belonging and well-being.

Methods: Independently living Dutch older adults (aged≥70 years) were asked to complete questionnaires in2011 (T0) and 2013 (T1). Response rates at T0 and T1 were 66% (945/1440) and 62% (588/945), respectively.Descriptive statistics, paired samplet-tests, analysis of variance, univariate analyses and multilevel regressionanalyses controlling for background characteristics and baseline well-being were performed.

Results:Of 945 respondents [43% male; mean age, 77.5 ± 5.8 (range, 70–101) years], 34.7% were married and83.3% were Dutch natives. Social cohesion remained constant over time, whereas social belonging improved (p≤0.05). Older people living in socially deprived neighborhoods report poorer overall well-being and instrumentalgoals to achieve well-being. Baseline social cohesion, changes therein (bothp≤.001), baseline social belonging,and changes therein (bothp≤.05) predicted well-being at T1.

Conclusion:This study showed that social cohesion, belonging, and changes therein predict the social as well asphysical well-being of community-dwelling older people in the Netherlands over time. The creation of strongerties among neighbors and a sense of belonging is needed.