Lived Realities of Lonely Older People: Resisting Idealisations of ‘Home’

Alison Jarvis, Andrea Mountain

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This article is based on research set up to explore temporal dimensions of loneliness amongst older people in a northern town. As the study progressed, spatial considerations and confinements emerged as a related and equally important feature. The article suggests that the 'social sphere' of lived reality, especially reality lived out in one confined space, is a prime candidate for what has been termed 'de-familiarisation'. Social policy discourses focussed on 'ageing in place' can sometimes neglect the realities of older people’s circumstances, daily life and social contact. Central arguments put forward in the article are that loneliness increases as spatial prospects recede; that 'home' can become a source of frustration and negativity rather than a source of solace and comfort; and that expanding and facilitating the social horizons of older people currently 'confined' to home should be prioritised within a genuinely age-friendly approach to social policy
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Issue number1
Early online date14 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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