HomeBlogLiving in solitude. An opportunity and a social and personal challenge

Living in solitude. An opportunity and a social and personal challenge

Many older people live alone. Around 1,860,000. Most of them prefer to live in their own homes for the rest of their lives. More than seven out of ten are women, many of them with sufficient social and personal skills to be able to live independently and autonomously.

There is nothing better than your own home to make the life you want. Moreover, it is the environment that is known and in which people feel - we feel - safe. Living in Spain alone still has some advantages: most older people have telephone or personal contact with a close son or daughter at least twice a week. In short, we retain a powerful invisible social protection network that accompanies many people who, even if they live alone, do not feel isolated.

But as we grow older, so do the risks of loneliness. The latest data from the National Institute of Statistics show that there are 368,400 people aged 85 and over who are alone. Research shows that the combination of loneliness and lack of social network with old age, illness, architectural barriers in the home and environment, low income and female gender has negative consequences for health and well-being and can lead to situations of social isolation.

All this highlights the need for action by administrations to promote the creation of friendly environments, which favour the integration of people living alone in their community, facilitating access to community resources and the enjoyment of outdoor spaces. Citizens also have a crucial role in these aspects by promoting initiatives to accompany those who feel lonely.

People who are getting older, on the other hand, can implement various actions to live with autonomy, independence, avoiding social isolation. Taking care of and maintaining a good state of health, fitting out the house, maintaining and establishing new social relationships and taking an interest in activities in the community are some of these. And of course, knowing how to ask for help when needed.

Growing old living alone is therefore a social achievement associated with increased longevity. However, older people, public administrations and society in general have to anticipate possible negative consequences associated with this way of life, developing actions that promote the maintenance and establishment of links in safe and friendly environments.

Source: The Novaire Blog "Seniors Come First



Expert in Gerontological Planning

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