Mali Bracia Ubogich association decided to conduct a survey about elderly loneliness in Poland.
According to this survey about the Social Situation of Persons in Age 65, conducted by ARC Rynek i Opinia Research Institute for Stowarzyszenie, loneliness among elderly persons is one of the biggest problems they face every day. This survey shows that 20% of the persons aged 65 and more feels lonely, and the percentage is dramatically rising among elderly persons aged 80+. The feeling of loneliness is mostly experienced by persons living alone (one-person household), most prominently by widows.
These persons try to fight loneliness mainly through solitary activities, such as watching TV, reading, or solving crosswords. Among the main difficulties that elderly persons experience each day, are health problems (55%) and loss of loved ones (46%), but also end of professional life (28%), loneliness/isolation (17%), lack of money (14%), loss of independence (13%), boredom (13%), lack of sense of security (12%), feeling of being unneeded (10%).
It is not easy to solve some problems, since they are in fact a part of a natural way of life. However, feeling of loneliness and isolation is a phenomenon that can be prevented.
The survey shows also that 30% of interviewees do not have any close relations in their surroundings.
The most important persons in life of the elderly persons are family members – spouses, children, and grandchildren, and friends as well.
Moreover, 30% of respondents have no close relations whatsoever in any of the social circles. This group is dominated by widows, widowers, persons living alone, childless persons, and men. They have no one to turn to get help or to share their problems with. Even higher percentage of persons living alone has no one to trust (e.g. entrust keys to their apartment). 20% of the persons in age 80+ has no one to spend free time with (e.g. go for a walk or eat a meal).
Furthermore, the survey shows 5% of the respondents in age 80+ never leave home. Many people above 80 or 90 years of age have no family or friends. Sentenced to loneliness, they lose meaning of their life. They never leave their homes, they have no one to talk to or to call on the phone. They are caught in apathy, they lose appetite, and they are afraid of days to come.
This situation changes entirely once a friendly and caring person appears in elderly person’s life. Such person that listens carefully to what they have to say, that visits them at least once a week and calls them regularly to ask how they are and how was their day. “This friendly soul is our volunteer” ,says Joanna Mielczarek, Executive Director of Stowarzyszenie “mali bracia Ubogich.”
association mali bracia ubogich / friends of the elderly.