Older People, Loss, and Loneliness: The Troublesome Nature of Increased Contact With Adult Children

Robert Hagan, Brian Taylor, John Mallett, Roger Manktelow, Jan Pascal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Older people may experience considerable loss when they endure emotional or social loneliness. Emotional loneliness is related to the loss or absence of a confidant while social loneliness describes the discrepancy between the nature of one’s desired and actual social network. In this article, both concepts are examined in relation to new attendees at time-limited day center reablement programs in Northern Ireland. Using group work activities, reablement programs aim to motivate participants to continue to live independently, often in the face of later life losses. Out of a total of 91 initial respondents (range, 61–94), 13 lived with adult children (10 of whom were lone parents). Those living with, or who had daily contact with, adult children had significantly higher levels of emotional loneliness at the start of their program, but not at the end. For this sample, reductions in emotional loneliness in certain cohorts of older adults who attend these programs have been identified. In conclusion, it is proposed that fourth age losses mediate older people’s living arrangement and may create greater vulnerability to emotional loneliness in those living with adult children. In addition, social groups may be effective in helping reduce emotional loneliness.
LanguageEnglish
JournalIllness, Crisis and Loss
Early online date15 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Nov 2017

Fingerprint

contact
group work
life situation
social network
vulnerability
parents
experience
time

Keywords

  • older people
  • social work
  • Loneliness
  • Loss
  • relationships

Cite this

@article{92c50b3a82ed40d4a7aa33fb4f192c1e,
title = "Older People, Loss, and Loneliness: The Troublesome Nature of Increased Contact With Adult Children",
abstract = "Older people may experience considerable loss when they endure emotional or social loneliness. Emotional loneliness is related to the loss or absence of a confidant while social loneliness describes the discrepancy between the nature of one’s desired and actual social network. In this article, both concepts are examined in relation to new attendees at time-limited day center reablement programs in Northern Ireland. Using group work activities, reablement programs aim to motivate participants to continue to live independently, often in the face of later life losses. Out of a total of 91 initial respondents (range, 61–94), 13 lived with adult children (10 of whom were lone parents). Those living with, or who had daily contact with, adult children had significantly higher levels of emotional loneliness at the start of their program, but not at the end. For this sample, reductions in emotional loneliness in certain cohorts of older adults who attend these programs have been identified. In conclusion, it is proposed that fourth age losses mediate older people’s living arrangement and may create greater vulnerability to emotional loneliness in those living with adult children. In addition, social groups may be effective in helping reduce emotional loneliness.",
keywords = "older people, social work, Loneliness, Loss, relationships",
author = "Robert Hagan and Brian Taylor and John Mallett and Roger Manktelow and Jan Pascal",
year = "2017",
month = "11",
day = "15",
doi = "doi.org/10.1177/1054137317742235",
language = "English",
journal = "Illness, Crisis and Loss",
issn = "1054-1373",

}

Older People, Loss, and Loneliness: The Troublesome Nature of Increased Contact With Adult Children. / Hagan, Robert; Taylor, Brian; Mallett, John; Manktelow, Roger; Pascal, Jan.

In: Illness, Crisis and Loss, 15.11.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Older People, Loss, and Loneliness: The Troublesome Nature of Increased Contact With Adult Children

AU - Hagan, Robert

AU - Taylor, Brian

AU - Mallett, John

AU - Manktelow, Roger

AU - Pascal, Jan

PY - 2017/11/15

Y1 - 2017/11/15

N2 - Older people may experience considerable loss when they endure emotional or social loneliness. Emotional loneliness is related to the loss or absence of a confidant while social loneliness describes the discrepancy between the nature of one’s desired and actual social network. In this article, both concepts are examined in relation to new attendees at time-limited day center reablement programs in Northern Ireland. Using group work activities, reablement programs aim to motivate participants to continue to live independently, often in the face of later life losses. Out of a total of 91 initial respondents (range, 61–94), 13 lived with adult children (10 of whom were lone parents). Those living with, or who had daily contact with, adult children had significantly higher levels of emotional loneliness at the start of their program, but not at the end. For this sample, reductions in emotional loneliness in certain cohorts of older adults who attend these programs have been identified. In conclusion, it is proposed that fourth age losses mediate older people’s living arrangement and may create greater vulnerability to emotional loneliness in those living with adult children. In addition, social groups may be effective in helping reduce emotional loneliness.

AB - Older people may experience considerable loss when they endure emotional or social loneliness. Emotional loneliness is related to the loss or absence of a confidant while social loneliness describes the discrepancy between the nature of one’s desired and actual social network. In this article, both concepts are examined in relation to new attendees at time-limited day center reablement programs in Northern Ireland. Using group work activities, reablement programs aim to motivate participants to continue to live independently, often in the face of later life losses. Out of a total of 91 initial respondents (range, 61–94), 13 lived with adult children (10 of whom were lone parents). Those living with, or who had daily contact with, adult children had significantly higher levels of emotional loneliness at the start of their program, but not at the end. For this sample, reductions in emotional loneliness in certain cohorts of older adults who attend these programs have been identified. In conclusion, it is proposed that fourth age losses mediate older people’s living arrangement and may create greater vulnerability to emotional loneliness in those living with adult children. In addition, social groups may be effective in helping reduce emotional loneliness.

KW - older people

KW - social work

KW - Loneliness

KW - Loss

KW - relationships

U2 - doi.org/10.1177/1054137317742235

DO - doi.org/10.1177/1054137317742235

M3 - Article

JO - Illness, Crisis and Loss

T2 - Illness, Crisis and Loss

JF - Illness, Crisis and Loss

SN - 1054-1373

ER -