New scientific article by researchers of RECETAS consortium!
Listening to the voice of older people: dimensions of loneliness in long-term care facilities
Loneliness has proved to be common in long-term care facilities (LTCF) and is associated with adverse health outcomes. Although older residents have expressed their experiences of loneliness in previous studies in various ways, researchers have rarely distinguished or explored the three dimensions of loneliness: social, emotional and existential. Furthermore, descriptions of existential loneliness in LTCF is still a neglected area of research. The aim of this study was to explore how the experiences of loneliness of older people in LTCF are manifested and divided into these dimensions. We used an ethnographic multi-method approach. The analysis leaned on abductive reasoning. In terms of social loneliness, the respondents missed company and lacked peer support, but also felt lonely in a crowd. Emotional loneliness felt miserable and could not be shared with anyone. It was related to a feeling of meaninglessness of life and a lack of meaningful others. Existential loneliness was characterised by waiting and a feeling of emptiness. It reflected the fundamental issues of humanity. The present study is one of the first to explore the dimensions of the experiences of loneliness among frail and cognitively impaired older people in LTCF. According to the voices of the lonely respondents, loneliness has many social, emotional and existential aspects. These features of loneliness should be recognised in studies, care practices and interventions. www.cambridge.org