Article

Experiences of loneliness among the very old: The Umeå 85+ project

Department of Nursing, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Aging and Mental Health (Impact Factor: 1.75). 05/2010; 14(4):433-8. DOI: 10.1080/13607860903586078
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study aims to elucidate experiences of loneliness among the very old, who live alone.
Twenty-three women and seven men, aged 85-103 years, were interviewed about their experiences of loneliness. The text was subjected to qualitative content analysis.
The descriptions of loneliness were twofold: on the one hand, living with losses and feeling abandoned represented the limitations imposed by loneliness; and on the other, living in confidence and feeling free represented the opportunities of loneliness. The findings indicate that experiences of loneliness among the very old are complex, and concern their relations in the past, the present, and the future.
Experiences of loneliness among the very old can be devastating or enriching, depending upon life circumstances and outlook on life and death. We interpreted these two aspects of loneliness as feelings of homelessness and at-homeness.

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    • "Downe-Wamboldt54 stated that content analysis has external validity as a goal, and that the sample technique is central to external validity. The findings in this study must be understood in the light of the fact that six of the seniors lived alone; this could influence the finding, as living alone has been found to affect the experience of loneliness among the very old.55 Two other limits of our study are in the number of participants, with only one male informant. "
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