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Being disconnected from life : meanings of existential loneliness as narrated by frail older people

Sjöberg, Marina; Beck, Ingela LU ; Rasmussen, Birgit H. LU and Edberg, Anna-Karin (2017) In Aging and Mental Health p.1-8
Abstract

Objectives: This study illuminated the meanings of existential loneliness (EL) as narrated by frail older people. Method: Data were collected through individual narrative interviews with 23 people 76–101 years old receiving long-term care and services. A phenomenological hermeneutical analysis was performed, including a naïve reading and two structural analyses as a basis for a comprehensive understanding of EL. Result: Four themes were identified related to meanings of EL: (1) being trapped in a frail and deteriorating body; (2) being met with indifference; (3) having nobody to share life with; and (4) lacking purpose and meaning. These intertwined themes were synthesized into a comprehensive understanding of EL as ‘being disconnected... (More)

Objectives: This study illuminated the meanings of existential loneliness (EL) as narrated by frail older people. Method: Data were collected through individual narrative interviews with 23 people 76–101 years old receiving long-term care and services. A phenomenological hermeneutical analysis was performed, including a naïve reading and two structural analyses as a basis for a comprehensive understanding of EL. Result: Four themes were identified related to meanings of EL: (1) being trapped in a frail and deteriorating body; (2) being met with indifference; (3) having nobody to share life with; and (4) lacking purpose and meaning. These intertwined themes were synthesized into a comprehensive understanding of EL as ‘being disconnected from life’. Conclusion: Illness and physical limitation affects access to the world. When being met with indifference and being unable to share one's thoughts and experiences of life with others, a sense of worthlessness is reinforced, triggering an experience of meaninglessness and EL, i.e. disconnection from life. It is urgent to develop support strategies that can be used by health care professionals to address older people in vulnerable situations, thereby facilitating connectedness.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Existential loneliness, frail, interviews, older people, phenomenological hermeneutical method
in
Aging and Mental Health
pages
8 pages
publisher
Carfax Publishing
external identifiers
  • scopus:85022198654
ISSN
1360-7863
DOI
10.1080/13607863.2017.1348481
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f825bd98-35ce-47e5-b17b-bc094e125a1c
date added to LUP
2017-08-07 10:38:00
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:14:14
@article{f825bd98-35ce-47e5-b17b-bc094e125a1c,
  abstract     = {<p>Objectives: This study illuminated the meanings of existential loneliness (EL) as narrated by frail older people. Method: Data were collected through individual narrative interviews with 23 people 76–101 years old receiving long-term care and services. A phenomenological hermeneutical analysis was performed, including a naïve reading and two structural analyses as a basis for a comprehensive understanding of EL. Result: Four themes were identified related to meanings of EL: (1) being trapped in a frail and deteriorating body; (2) being met with indifference; (3) having nobody to share life with; and (4) lacking purpose and meaning. These intertwined themes were synthesized into a comprehensive understanding of EL as ‘being disconnected from life’. Conclusion: Illness and physical limitation affects access to the world. When being met with indifference and being unable to share one's thoughts and experiences of life with others, a sense of worthlessness is reinforced, triggering an experience of meaninglessness and EL, i.e. disconnection from life. It is urgent to develop support strategies that can be used by health care professionals to address older people in vulnerable situations, thereby facilitating connectedness.</p>},
  author       = {Sjöberg, Marina and Beck, Ingela and Rasmussen, Birgit H. and Edberg, Anna-Karin},
  issn         = {1360-7863},
  keyword      = {Existential loneliness,frail,interviews,older people,phenomenological hermeneutical method},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  pages        = {1--8},
  publisher    = {Carfax Publishing},
  series       = {Aging and Mental Health},
  title        = {Being disconnected from life : meanings of existential loneliness as narrated by frail older people},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2017.1348481},
  year         = {2017},
}