What is loneliness? The different articulation of loneliness among elderly in problematizations as well as solution-oriented initiatives?

Research output: Contribution to conference - NOT published in proceeding or journalConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Loneliness among elderly is articulated as a major problem. Loneliness is compared to smoking as a health problem that is fatal. Therefore, in recent years, large pools of funding have been allocated to support various projects that work to solve or reduce the articulated problem of too many lonely elderly. Loneliness is articulated as a social problem but also a problem that can be solved. The initiatives taken to solve the problem are often governed by an activation and/or socialization agenda. But what is loneliness, where is loneliness and is loneliness a problem that can be solved or at least reduced from public institutional side?

This paper examines how loneliness among elderly are articulated among public institutions and other organizations that work with elderly healthcare - and how initiatives to solve the problem are done.

Loneliness is something that is difficult to grasp, while it is something everyone to some extend knows the feeling of. Loneliness among elderly is posed as a societal problem at a time where there is cut backs on elderly care. Time and number of hands that can be used in elderly care are reduced - and at the same time, caregivers are thought in many situations as an important tool in solving loneliness as a problem. The caregivers are already ‘out there’, so they can be used to identify where the problem is - and at the same time communicate possible solution e.g. propose initiatives to the citizens for which the citizen can participate.

Based on studies of policy documents and reports - and ethnographic observations of caregivers and volunteers I ask what is loneliness in this institutionalized problematization and what definition of loneliness are inscribed into the different initiatives, tools and technologies that seek to solve or reduce the problem?
Translated title of the contributionHvad er ensomhed? : Dee forskellige artikulationer af ensomhed blandt ældre i problematiseringer såvel som løsningsorienterede initiativer?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date21 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2018
EventUnsettling technogenarians: interferences and synergies at the crossroads of Geronthology and Science and Technology Studies - Castelldefels, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 21 Jun 201822 Jun 2018
Conference number: 2


SeminarUnsettling technogenarians: interferences and synergies at the crossroads of Geronthology and Science and Technology Studies
CityCastelldefels, Barcelona

Cite this