“Not Alone in Loneliness”: A Qualitative Evaluation of a Program Promoting Social Capital among Lonely Older People in Primary Health Care

Laura Coll-Planas*, Dolors Rodríguez-Arjona, Mariona Pons-Vigués, Fredrica Nyqvist, Teresa Puig, Rosa Monteserín

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The weekly group-based program “Paths: from loneliness to participation” was conducted face-to-face over 15 sessions by nurses, social workers and volunteers in primary care in Catalonia (Spain) to alleviate loneliness among older people by promoting peer support and participation in community assets. We aimed at exploring participants’ experiences of loneliness and participation prior to the program and its perceived benefits. The qualitative design was descriptive-interpretative. Data were collected through three focus groups and 41 interviews applying a semis-tructured topic guide involving 26 older participants, six professionals and nine volunteers. Partic-ipant-observation of all sessions involved the 38 older people who started the program. A thematic content analysis was applied. Older persons with diverse profiles of loneliness and participation explained different degrees of decrease in loneliness, an increase in participation in local community assets, companionship, peer support and friendship, and an empowerment process. Successful cases reported improvements in mental wellbeing and recovering the sense that life was worth liv-ing. Loneliness persisted among some widowed participants and vulnerabilities hampered some benefits. Participants, professionals and volunteers reported different degrees of success in older people to alleviate loneliness by enhancing social relationships and activities through complex processes interrelated with health and socioeconomic factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5580
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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