Webinar May 30, 2018: “Loneliness in Later Life”




Webinar details:

  • Presenters: Eddy Elmer, PhD(c)
  • DateMay 30th, at 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm PST
  • CostFree, hosted by BCPGA
  • Webinar topic: Loneliness in Later Life (see description below)
  • How to join the webinar: 
    • Follow the link: https://bluejeans.com/138833352
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to download and then run Blue Jeans.
    • Continue as “Guest”.
    • Select audio preference, turn off microphone, and turn off webcam.  
    • Meeting ID: 138833352
    • Join by phone: 1-888-240-2560 (Conference ID: 138833352)

*Please Note: a prompt to download “Blue Jeans” will appear. Follow the on-screen instructions to run the program. 

**To join us via your mobile phone or tablet, download the Blue Jeans app
(Apple iOSAndroid)



Loneliness in Later Life: Not Always What we Think

Loneliness, particularly when chronic, is increasingly recognized as a significant predictor of poor health and early mortality. It is associated with greater use of healthcare services and increased healthcare costs. It also tends to spread within social networks and can disrupt communities. It is important, therefore, to take steps to reduce and, ideally, prevent chronic loneliness. Unfortunately, our efforts are sometimes hampered by conflation of similar but distinct concepts and the existence of various myths.

This presentation begins with a discussion about the differences and similarities between loneliness, social isolation, absence of social support, social exclusion, solitude, and depression. Four different types of loneliness are distinguished, including emotional, social, collectivistic, and existential. A key distinction is made between transient and chronic loneliness, and the process by which relationship deficits—real and perceived—can create a paradoxical, self-reinforcing cycle of maladaptive social perception and self-defeating behaviour. Risk factors for loneliness are discussed, with a focus on psychological characteristics like personality traits, attachment history, relationship expectations, beliefs about aging, learned helplessness, and genetics.

Following this is an overview of different interventions, especially those for which there is the strongest evidence: social-cognitive approaches. Key features of successful interventions are reviewed, and tips are given to help service providers engage with lonely clients. Given the significant difficulty of reducing chronic loneliness, the presentation concludes with several recommendations for helping to prevent this problem in the first place, including some drawn from the recent report published by the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee.