Loneliness and social exclusion among older Europeans before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Edited by: Bruno Arpino

isbn: 978-88-32003-04-8

Editing and graphic design: Caterina Livi Bacci

This e-book is the main output of a knowledge sharing process organized by the Joint Programming Initiative “More Years Better Lives
– The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change” (JPI-MYBL). Launched in 2009, JPI-MYBL brought together several EU and non- EU countries to create a common research framework aiming to better coordinate, harmonize, and synchronize the research programmes of the participating countries on the topic of demographic change. The ultimate goal of JPI-MYBL is to better understand the complex effects of demographic change1 and to produce evidence on the relationship between demographic change, equality, and wellbeing. It adopts a transnational and interdisciplinary approach to find innovative solutions that make “societal ageing” a resource and not a burden. It also involves different actors including researchers, policymakers and stakeholders.
In 2022, JPI-MYBL launched a knowledge-sharing process on isolation and loneliness among older people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The process consisted of four connected online workshops, scheduled in a specific time window (about six months), and attended by three groups of actors: stakeholders, researchers, and policy representatives who were invited to respond to a common “red line document” posted on the JPIMYBL website. 2 A synthesis of this document is included in the Introduction of this e-book. Participants in the four knowledge-sharing workshops were later invited to prepare a short article based on their presentations.
Their contributions are presented in this e-book, along with additional articles on the topics of isolation and loneliness among older people.


1 Bruno Arpino, Giuseppe Gabrielli & Heidrun Mollenkopf • Introduction

Part 1 • I Pre-COVID evidence on loneliness and social exclusion

1.1 Oliver Huxhold & Bianca Suanet • Lonely and excluded: A downward spiral? An investigation in Germany before the CVID-19

1.2 Tineke Fokkema & Marjolijn Das • Moroccan and Turkish older migrants in the Netherlands before the COVID-19 pandemic: lonely despite social contacts

Part 2 • Loneliness, social exclusion and the COVID-19 pandemic

2.1 Omar Paccagnella, Veronica Cassarà, Maria Iannario & Cosmo Strozza • Who felt lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic among European older adults?

2.2 Bruno Arpino, Christine A. Mair, Nekehia T. Quashie & Radoslaw Antczak • Kinlessness and loneliness before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic

2.3 Damiano Uccheddu & Ester Lucia Rizzi • Loneliness in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic: a gender perspective

2.4 Anne Skevik Grødem • Older people with care needs in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic

2.5 Lisanne CJ Steijvers, Stephanie Brinkhues & Nicole HTM Dukers-Muijrers • How well did we maintain social relationships during the pandemic in the Netherlands?

Part 3 Addressing loneliness and social exclusion

3.1 Robin Hewings • How the built environment can tackle loneliness – experience from the UK

3.2 Jennifer Bethell & Andrew Sommerlad • Measuring social connection in nursing homes in Canada and UK:
the SONNET study

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