Title

Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults and the Experience of Gratitude and Affection

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Sholey

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the experience of social isolation and loneliness among older adults living in Missoula, Montana, and the possibility that affection and gratitude may help ameliorate these negative states. The research questions for this study are: How do older adults perceive social isolation and loneliness? What experiences do elderly people associate with affection and gratitude? Do elderly individuals who are socially isolated see themselves as such? What experiences of affection and/or gratitude do elderly individuals typically remember receiving? Which persons do elderly individuals associate most strongly with feelings of affection and/or gratitude? How do elderly individuals typically handle situations where they feel socially isolated and/or lonely? To answer these questions, the researchers created interview questions that answered these queries. The researchers recruited approximately 13 older adults through Missoula Aging Services, and have so far conducted over 10 interviews for the study. The researchers expect to find that older adults do struggle with social and isolation, and that experiences of gratitude and affection are positive and uplifting for older adults, no matter the individual differences in perceiving them. Expressing gratitude and affection is a low-cost and high benefit health practice, and both have been shown to help increase feelings of well-being and the potential to decrease the negative effects that accompany social isolation and loneliness. The researchers hope to contribute to the growing body of research about the positive effects of gratitude and affection with their findings. They also want to contribute to the field of studying older adults, since they are an under studied population.

Category

Humanities

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Apr 17th, 4:40 PM Apr 17th, 5:00 PM

Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults and the Experience of Gratitude and Affection

UC 331

The purpose of this study is to examine the experience of social isolation and loneliness among older adults living in Missoula, Montana, and the possibility that affection and gratitude may help ameliorate these negative states. The research questions for this study are: How do older adults perceive social isolation and loneliness? What experiences do elderly people associate with affection and gratitude? Do elderly individuals who are socially isolated see themselves as such? What experiences of affection and/or gratitude do elderly individuals typically remember receiving? Which persons do elderly individuals associate most strongly with feelings of affection and/or gratitude? How do elderly individuals typically handle situations where they feel socially isolated and/or lonely? To answer these questions, the researchers created interview questions that answered these queries. The researchers recruited approximately 13 older adults through Missoula Aging Services, and have so far conducted over 10 interviews for the study. The researchers expect to find that older adults do struggle with social and isolation, and that experiences of gratitude and affection are positive and uplifting for older adults, no matter the individual differences in perceiving them. Expressing gratitude and affection is a low-cost and high benefit health practice, and both have been shown to help increase feelings of well-being and the potential to decrease the negative effects that accompany social isolation and loneliness. The researchers hope to contribute to the growing body of research about the positive effects of gratitude and affection with their findings. They also want to contribute to the field of studying older adults, since they are an under studied population.