Loneliness among people, especially among the older people has become a very common problem. Loneliness can be defined as the complex and unpleasant feeling of isolation. In this situation, people usually feel anxious about lack of communication or companionship (Victor & Yang, 2012). As people have become extremely busy in life and popularity of nuclear family concept has been increasing, the loneliness among the elders in the family has been rising too. To support the elderly people, there are many residential care centers.
In the centers for aged people, they take care of those elderly people, who cannot stay with their families or who have none to take care of them at home. However, it is found that the older people are still feeling lonely in these centers and that is creating problems like depression, health issues etc. (Hauge & Kirkevold, 2012). Many studies have been conducted to find out the loneliness of the elder people, but, the loneliness of these people while staying with other people of their age is a new issue that the care centers are facing. It is important to find out the reasons for which these people still feel lonely while staying in the residential care centers. This research will try to focus on this issue and find out possible solutions.
Aims of the research
The aims of this research study are to find out the possible reasons for loneliness among older adults who live in the residential care centers across the country and the impacts of this situation on them. It also aims to suggest some potential solutions to these care centers to help to reduce the feeling of loneliness among the older adults, who live there.
The research questions are:
- What are the reasons for loneliness in the residential care for elderly adults?
- What are the impacts of loneliness on the adults, who live in these residential centers?
- What are the potential solutions to reduce feeling of loneliness among the older adults?
Loneliness is referred to as the subjective and disturbing feeling of being psychologically isolated from other people of the community (Cohen-Mansfield & Perach, 2015). It is an unwanted feeling and it can have sever impacts on human beings. While some people prefer to stay lonely and enjoy the bliss of solitude, some people get depressed due to loneliness and then withdraw themselves all the more from the society. Loneliness can increase the productivity and sense of satisfaction for some, while it acts as a catalyst for mental and physical illness for others (Rodriguez?Blazquez et al., 2012).
Loneliness can generate from many sources. It mostly comes from the family. When someone lacks the family support and care, that person tends to suffer from loneliness. Cumulative losses, such as, finances, friends, health, economic status, and most importantly death of the spouse can lead to loneliness of a severe level. At the old age, the problem of loneliness is more acute due to distance from the family and losses experienced by other friends (Roos & Malan, 2012).
As stated by Conradsson et al. (2013), the average lifespan of a person has increased with the improvement of health care facilities and lifestyles and hence, people are now living longer than before. However, longer life comes with more chronic diseases and that needs to be taken care of. In the modern world, people have become busy in their work and life and the time for giving company to the older members of the family is reduced drastically. Hence, the younger family members cannot take care of the older members on a regular basis and they need the residential care services for the older adults. In the past few decades, the old age homes and residential care centers have grown multiple in numbers across the world.
Hagan, Manktelow, Taylor & Mallett (2014) state that, the older people are very prone to suffer from loneliness due to many reasons, such as, retirement, bereavement, poor health, lack of friends, distance from the immediate family, financial difficulties, lack of transport and lack of independence. When they have to stay in the residential care homes, they feel all the more isolated from the near and dear ones and start feeling lonely. Marventano et al. (2014) highlights that, in many cases, the residential homes cannot give them a family like support and the older adults feel more depressed. This causes many health and mental problems among these elderly people and they tend to enter into a cycle of loneliness and diseases.
Significance of the research
This research study will help to throw a light on the mental and physical conditions of the older adults, who live in the residential care center. Staying away from their family already creates a sense of isolation among these people. While staying in the care centers, some people adopt the new environment, start a new life by making connections with other residents of their age, and enjoy their life. On the other hand, some elderly people become all the more shy and hesitant to mix with other residents and they do not come forward to make new connections.
The research study will focus on this second category of the adults. Through this study, the researcher as well as the readers will try to find out the potential causes for such a situation and this study would make a contribution in the similar field of study by giving a new perspective towards similar situations. The outcomes of this study can bring about a positive change in the lives of these older adults who suffer from loneliness in the residential care centers. Hence, in practical, the study can improve the quality of life of these people and the care centers will also get the scopes for improvement in their services for the elderly people so that such situations can be avoided in future.
Proposed research methodology
Research methodology refers to the methods that the researcher will be using while conducting the research. It includes research philosophy, approach, research design, data collection, sampling method, data analysis process and ethical considerations. Through the methodology of a research paper, the vision of the researcher gets reflected and the reader gets to understand the direction of the study (Mackey & Gass, 2015).
Research philosophy refers to the belief about the process of the research to be carried out. The most commonly used philosophies are positivism and interpretivism. Under positivism, the researcher scientifically tests the research topic and draws conclusion based on that. Interpretvism encompasses the method in which the researcher interprets the phenomena using his knowledge and vision, and draws conclusion on the basis of that (Gray, 2013). In this study, the researcher will be using the interpretivism approach to study the social phenomena.
In this research study, the researcher will be choosing 50 older adults staying in 5 different residential care homes. The researcher will conduct this research in his home city only, to save time and money. Hence, 10 participants from each of the residential care centers will be chosen by the researcher to get the data on loneliness. Since, the participants are residents of the care homes, it can be said that, they are all more than 60 years of age and majority would have retired from their jobs.
The researcher will use the simple random sampling technique to choose the participants. Simple random sampling is one type of probability sampling. In this type of sampling technique, each of the samples has equal probability of being chosen (Rossi, Wright & Anderson, 2013). He will use the questionnaire survey method with close ended questions to find out the causes of loneliness among the older adults in the residential care homes. This will helpful for both the researcher and the respondents to keep the research in a definite direction.
The researcher will use quantitative methodology to find out the percentage of people responding to various causes of loneliness as mentioned in the survey questionnaire. This method will be helpful to have a visual representation of the data as well as scientific results for the research questions. The research design framework follows the non-experimental survey research design. In this method, manipulation of the independent variables is not possible (Knobe & Nichols, 2013). Hence, for this research the non-experimental design is best suited.
Scope and problems
The research study has immense scope for future studies by highlighting an issue that was not focused earlier. Loneliness among the elderly people is a common issue in today’s world, as people have become extremely busy in their lives and from this situation, the concept of residential care centers has emerged. For a long time, it has been seen that the elderly people are quite happy while staying in the residential care centers as they make new connections with other people of their age. However, another situation has arrived, where it is seen that these residential care centers cannot provide adequate care to the residents and they start feeling isolated. Through this study, the researcher will try to find the causes of such a situation and potential solutions for those. This would create scopes for further studies that whether the solutions are relevant and feasible.
The problem of this study is the time and reach of the survey. To reduce the complexity and robustness of the research, the researcher will take only 50 respondents from 5 different residential care from his home city. This is a very small sample size and may generate sampling fluctuations. The results can be biased too. Thus, in future, researchers must increase the sample size and collect data from different cities across the country to get a more accurate result.
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Conradsson, M., Littbrand, H., Boström, G., Lindelof, N., Gustafson, Y., & Rosendahl, E. (2013). Is a change in functional capacity or dependency in activities of daily living associated with a change in mental health among older people living in residential care facilities?. Clinical Interventions In Aging, 8, 1561 - 1568. https://dx.doi.org/10.2147/cia.s53270
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