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Revista Brasileira de Geriatria e Gerontologia

versión impresa ISSN 1809-9823versión On-line ISSN 1981-2256


AZEREDO, Zaida de Aguiar Sá  y  AFONSO, Maria Alcina Neto. Loneliness from the perspective of the elderly. Rev. bras. geriatr. gerontol. [online]. 2016, vol.19, n.2, pp.313-324. ISSN 1981-2256.


Loneliness is a painful and distressing feeling that leads to a malaise where a person feels alone, despite being surrounded by people, feeling that he or she lacks support, especially of an emotional nature. It is most common in adolescence, but is also prevalent in old age.


To identify the opinion of elderly persons in relation to feelings of loneliness.


The respondents were 73 elderly men and women living at home but attending day care/social centers. A random convenience sample was used, consisting of elderly persons who were able and wished to respond to a short, duly tested questionnaire with mixed response questions. Confidentiality was respected throughout the study.


In 78.1% of respondents, a significant person was a family member who was not a spouse (especially daughters and granddaughters); 79.4% reported feeling sometimes or rarely/ never feeling lonely. Widowed or divorced elderly persons were those who most frequently referred to sometimes feeling lonely. To reduce loneliness, they suggested various forms of interaction and activities in which communication predominated. Intergenerational solidarity was also cited.


Although loneliness is described as an increasing problem for the elderly, its frequency was not high among those interviewed, perhaps because the respondents engaged in social activities. A longitudinal study aimed at elderly persons who stayed at home, with a representative sample of the elderly population in a given region, who participated or did not participate in social activities, is recommended to provide a broader perspective of the views of the elderly about loneliness.

Palabras clave : Loneliness; Elderly; Aging..

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