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Leaving loneliness alone: a brief research report on the pathways to (digital) solutions involving older adults

Sara Guerra (Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Oscar Ribeiro (Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Rita Carvalho (Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
Liliana Sousa (Department of Education and Psychology, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)

Working with Older People

ISSN: 1366-3666

Article publication date: 7 May 2024

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Abstract

Purpose

Older adults often experience loneliness as a vicious circle, in which loneliness builds more loneliness. Breaking this cycle is key to minimize the experience of loneliness. MOAI LABS is a European project that adopts a codesign process to develop digital solutions to address loneliness in older adults. This study aims to adopt a solution-based approach to capture solutions that community-dwelling older Portuguese adults who feel loneliness already experience in their lives.

Design/methodology/approach

Six individuals (aged 64–86 years) answered two solution-based questions: miracle and exceptions. Findings were obtained from one group discussion session that was audio-recorded, transcribed and submitted to qualitative analysis.

Findings

Main findings suggest that participants feel comfort in imagining their desired scenarios that involve being with their loved ones, better health conditions, adequate housing settings and contact with nature.

Originality/value

The findings highlight that leaving loneliness alone seems to be a path that may be facilitated by digital solutions that display solution-based questions, such as online platforms for social connection, virtual care and monitoring, design of smart home devices and the creation of immersive virtual reality experiences to explore nature, complemented by psychosocial support.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., within CINT ESIS R&D Unit (UIDB/4255/2020 and UIDP/4255/2020) and within the scope of the project RISE (LA/P/0053/2020).

Centro de Investigação em Tecnologias e Serviços de Saúde.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

This article was cofunded by the Interreg Sudoe P.

Citation

Guerra, S., Ribeiro, O., Carvalho, R. and Sousa, L. (2024), "Leaving loneliness alone: a brief research report on the pathways to (digital) solutions involving older adults", Working with Older People, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/WWOP-03-2024-0014

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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