Dr Mike Thomas, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, presented to the Gerontological Society Association of America's annual scientific meeting in Austin, Texas.
Drawing on his research findings on older people and loneliness, Dr Thomas explained the difficulties people often experience when they try and discuss this complex topic. Dr Thomas explained that loneliness is such an indivdual experience that sometimes we find it hard to even find the right words to explain how we feel. Some people might also fear they might look bad or lose the respect if they come out to other people as feeling lonely.
Dr Thomas's presentation concluded that social workers and members of other professions need to understand these complexities and overcome the awkwardness that people often feel about loneliness. This is key to understanding how this common phenomenon affects quality of life and what practitioners can do to alleviate loneliness and its impact on wellbeing.