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Elderly are not lonelier

Published on 25/04/2007

25 April 07

BRUSSELS – A study by the government in conjunction with University of Antwerp shows that the elderly may receive fewer visits from family, neighbours or friends these days, but they do no feel any lonelier than in the past.

Lieve Vanderleyden of the Flemish government’s research department and Leen Heylen of the University of Antwerp analysed the social contact of almost 2,500 elderly people between the ages of 55 and 99.

Older people do have less contact with neighbours, family and friends than they did 15 years ago. In 1985 43 percent of those 65 and over still saw brothers or sisters regularly; 27 percent did so in 2001. The number who had regular contact with neighbours, friends and acquaintances fell in the same period from 77 percent to 57 percent.

Still in that same period the percentage of elderly who seldom or never feel lonely increased from 65 to 71 percent. The researchers suspect that older people have changed with the times and adjusted their expectations of relationships. “It could also be the case that they have a more extensive agenda these days, in which receiving visitors is just one of their options,” said Heylen.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news