Expert assessments of loneliness among older adults: Identifying reasons and providing solutions

Fabio Casati, Galina Barysheva, Olga Nedospasova, Olga Korneva, Evgeny Shchekotin, Veronika Malanina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Loneliness among older adults has emerged as a specific social phenomenon relatively recently– in developed countries just a few decades ago. In Russia, due to its initially strong family-oriented culture, this problem presented itself even later, following the collapse of Soviet society. This article analyses probable social policy adjustments aimed at reducing the negative impact of loneliness on the older generation. We address the issue of loneliness assessment and prevention involving older adults themselves and social workers as experts. The methodology of 'expert seminars' involves comparing preliminary subjective assessments of the phenomenon under consideration with a final assessment of its contributing factors. Two groups of experts disagree on both the general assessment of loneliness and how to outline the loneliness-provoking factors and solutions suggested to combat it. Social workers have assumed that loneliness can be mitigated by developing an age-friendly environment, which improves the quality of life of the older generation. Older adults, however, clearly revealed in discussions during expert seminars and in their final recommendations that impersonal environment-oriented measures are not specific enough to tackle loneliness. In recent decades, political elites have made significant efforts to promote the importance, necessity and, to a large extent, the inevitability of delegating greater responsibility for the well-being of older adults to older adults themselves. However, participants of our Tomsk expert seminars were unwilling to take responsibility and continued to rely heavily on the social protection system rather than on personal resources or family support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-342
Number of pages12
JournalZhurnal Issledovanii Sotsial'noi Politiki
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Expert assessment
  • Expert seminars
  • Loneliness
  • Older adults
  • Social workers
  • Tomsk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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