Combat loneliness – create encounters
Involuntary loneliness can affect all groups, including the young and the elderly. Research shows that involuntary loneliness is dangerous and just as harmful to health as smoking. The risk of stroke, dementia and mental health issues increases.
For that reason, a key public health priority is to try to combat loneliness. A great many parties are involved in this work – researchers, municipalities, volunteer organisations and individuals.
The Combat loneliness – create encounters project provides an introduction to current knowledge about loneliness – scope, risk factors, the difference between social and existential loneliness, consequences of involuntary loneliness, and the measures that can have a positive effect.
Examples are also provided here of activities and initiatives in the Nordic region that are designed to encourage encounters between people, prevent loneliness or offer a path out of loneliness. These include arranging intergenerational encounters, bringing people with different backgrounds together, and creating residential areas that promote a sense of community.
More about loneliness
In the podcast The Age-Friendly City, one episode deals with involuntary loneliness and the importance of community. Listen to the episode below (in Swedish and Danish).
During Careware Nordic Masterclass 2019 in the Danish city of Aarhus, Christine Swane from the EGV Foundation (Social inclusion of older adults) talked about loneliness.
More than 80 organisations, municipalities, schools, associations and operations in Denmark have joined forces in the People’s Movement against Loneliness (Folkebevægelsen mod Ensomhed). Involuntary loneliness is a problem that we need to work together to do something about.
With both large and small meal arrangements, the aim is to create a sense of community and bring people together who might otherwise never have been met. Meals are a way of creating community – between people from different backgrounds and across generational boundaries.
The aim of the Foundation is to support socially vulnerable elderly people in Denmark – the poor, the homeless, migrants – to ensure a meaningful old age. The Foundation runs projects and provides support for research into loneliness, relationships and communities in society. They also publish reports and have a website.
Tell Stories for Life are group conversations for the elderly. The participants are invited to remember, tell and listen to stories from their lives. The aim is to strengthen identity, reduce loneliness and create new communities. The project is supported by the EGV Foundation.
Genlyd in the municipality of Aarhus is an initiative that offers residents the opportunity to participate in various activities and to share their interests, while at the same time providing support to people who want to find new communities.
Intergenerational meetings provide different age groups with the opportunity to meet by participating in various activities. The intergenerational meetings are based on an all-ages perspective, with wide-ranging views of what can be deemed to be intergenerational meetings. It is important for this exchange to be reciprocal and for all parties to be regarded as valuable. The city centre in Gothenburg has been working with intergenerational meetings since 2012.
Simonsland is a meeting point for all inhabitants of Borås. The aim is to promote interaction and community as well as to combat loneliness. The meeting point is aimed at people of all ages. The building is home to some 40 associations. There are also municipal officials who provide services to all inhabitants of Borås.
15 Mar 2018
In the Nordic region, life expectancy is increasing, and the elderly population is growing. It is of course a positive development [...]
15 Jan 2019
Vi lever allt längre i Norden och andelen äldre i befolkningen ökar. Det är en positiv utveckling, men innebär samtidigt stor [...]