Loneliness and Lost Community in Scenes of Elderly Care

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Transformations in elderly care in the Nordic welfare states have influenced the lives of very old and terminally ill citizens remarkably. The retrenchment of welfare provision has included more home-based care, less institutional care and less help for everyday living, and it has increased solitary living. Neoliberal ideals of autonomous living and individual choice have become dominant values for the organisation of the care and treatment of very old and terminally ill patients. This article looks at how care professionals and care practices have been affected. The psychosocial perspective (Lorenzer, 1986; Leithäuser, 2019) presented is that human beings experience the collective human condition in relations, and the emotions and fantasies about the life of self and others are active in forming practice. A scenic understanding is the central methodology of the article, to identify how care professionals act in reality-oriented ways, while at the same time being involved with their senses, fantasising and anticipating the life of self and others. The analysis looks at how the loneliness and precarious situation of the patients create projections of fear, aggression and loneliness in care workers, which in turn affects the relationship professionals have with citizens, and the meaning of work. The identifications and fantasies of professionals also demonstrate longing for community in very old age, and generate utopian visions about elderly care in the professional communities of practice
TidsskriftJournal of Psycho-Social Studies
Udgave nummer3 Special Issue
Sider (fra-til)277-286
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2020


  • terminal illness
  • loneliness
  • scenic understanding
  • community
  • elderly care

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