"Homeless in life" - loneliness experienced as existential suffering by older adults living at home: a caring science perspective

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Background: Due to physical impairments and functional limitations, older adults receiving home care can be considered especially vulnerable to loneliness. To understand how society can provide support that enhances vulnerable individuals’ quality of life, it is important to explore loneliness and its underlying causes in older adults. Aims To contribute to a deeper understanding of caring science theory, the aim of this study was to use a caring science perspective to explore and understand experiences of suffering from loneliness in older adults receiving home care. The research questions are as follows: What phenomena are associated with the experience of suffering from loneliness in older adults receiving home care? How can this experience be understood? Methodology: A hermeneutical approach was used. The material was collected through interviews with 17 older adults about their quality of life, including their experiences of loneliness. The texts were interpreted through latent content analysis. Findings: The findings resulted in one main category and three subcategories. The main category was as follows: Being homeless in life–loneliness expressed and primarily stemming from existential suffering. The subcategories were as follows: Loss of communion with one's partner or other loved ones, Loss of meaningful social activities due to isolation and Loss of health due to frailty and vulnerability. All categories were described and implications for practice discussed. Conclusion: This study contributes to an understanding of experiences of suffering from loneliness in older adults receiving home care, with relevance for the healthcare context as well as for what a community or society should focus on when addressing these important issues.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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