EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS: «IS ALSO A LACK OF RELATIONSHIP
WITH OWN SELVES, AS A SORT OF DESERT» – THE VOICE OF
HEALTH AND SOCIAL PROFESSIONALS
ALONE project partnership is glad to announce that the report on the understanding, perceptions and experiences of existential loneliness in older people by health care and social professionals is now available. You can find it on the project website in different languages: English, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Rumanian and Swedish.
The final aim of this empirical research, carried out in the five partner countries, is to reveal challenges and limitations encountered by healthcare and social professionals in dealing with existential loneliness among
older persons. The research aimed also to highlight skills and educational and support needs to deal with this phenomenon in order to develop a high-quality work-based VET that can meet professionals’ needs.
The research has revealed a general lack of specific knowledge about existential loneliness by professionals involved, in almost all partner countries. It is interesting to notice that after the explanation of what existential loneliness is, all participants referred to have encountered in their professional activity elderly people experiencing it.
Existential loneliness has been considered as something that goes very deep, bringing with it a sense of emptiness, a sense of irrecoverable loss of something or someone that is considered very important. Participants
reported that detecting and facing existential loneliness among older people can be a hard task that often constitutes a heavy emotional commitment, exacerbated by the lack of knowledge and support.
Moreover, the recent Covid-19 health emergency, that has struck the entire world on 2020, has seen the need to introduce a protocol for the containment of human contacts and social distancing, implemented through the invitation, or obligation in some countries, to remain at own home for a certain period, as well as the suspension of visits by relatives or friends to the elderly living in residential homes. In this extraordinary situation, it has become even more evident the importance of recognizing and dealing with existential loneliness among older people.