Rising hospital admissions due to respiratory disease (RD) are a major challenge to hospitals. This study explored modifiable social risk factors among 4478 older adults from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Data were linked with administrative hospital records and mortality registry data (follow-up 9.6 years) and analysed using survival analysis accounting for competing risks. Living alone and social disengagement but not social contact or loneliness were associated with an increased risk of RD admissions, independent of socio-demographic, health and behaviour factors. Providing support for disengaged adults living alone who are at risk of RD admissions should be explored.