08 February 2023,   01:00
Every fourth elderly person in Georgia suffers from both social and emotional loneliness - UNFPA research

About a fifth (21%) of older persons (aged 65-85) participating in the study live alone. Statistical analysis (Mode, Median, Mean) shows that two-person households are most common among the age group of older persons, reads the research of United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA Georgia]

“In addition, half of older persons live in families with less than 3 members, and the other half - in families with more than 3 members. Furthermore, the average household size equals to 3 people.

The vast majority of older persons (86%) are pensioners who do not work. only one-tenth of older persons are employed or self-employed. A small proportion of respondents (3%) are involved in subsistence farming. Quite a large part of older persons (43%) performs various physical activities on a daily basis, and about a tenth manage to walk or engage in other moderate physical activities for 10 minutes at a time, 2 or 3 days a week. It should be noted herein that in the last two years, 46% of older persons walked regularly, and a quarter travelled by public transport.

62% of older persons do not have regular access to the Internet at home. In addition, they rarely use a computer or other gadgets/electronic devices (except when they are used for the purpose of watching TV programmes or movies). In general, about 30% of respondents do not have a gadget/computer nor basic computer skills to use it. The majority (59%) of respondents who have electronic devices at home or the skills to use them (about 70% of all respondents) never (0 hours) use these devices for anything other than watching TV programmes or movies; and about a fifth of them report that they usually use a computer or other gadgets for 1-3 hours per day. As for the component of online communication such as phone and video calls, a third of older persons make 1-5 calls and a fifth - 6-10 calls to family members, friends and/or for social interactions per week.

One out of five respondents does not have a family member to whom they could talk about their personal problems and worries; whereas 13% of older persons do not have a friend to share their problems and worries with. However, when the respondents have such a person (persons) around them, older persons report that they are very close to them (a family member - 47%, a friend - 32%).

The most frequent specific events and situations experienced by older persons over the past two years are serious illnesses (33%), financial difficulties (36%) and the death of a close person or friend (26%). 47% of older persons describe their health status as satisfactory, and 42% - as bad. The proportion of respondents who describe their health status as bad increase with age. Women tend to assess their health status more negatively than men.

About a third of older persons are quite satisfied with their financial status. In addition, it was revealed that half of older persons living alone are dissatisfied with their financial status, and among them more than a quarter is completely dissatisfied (27%).

The majority of older persons (65%) consider themselves more or less happy. On the other hand, almost one fifth of the respondents consider themselves not very happy (unhappy). According to the regression model, older persons living in multi-member families feel happier. In addition, as the age of older persons increases, the degree to which they consider themselves as happy decreases.

Emotional loneliness is more prevalent among older persons than social loneliness - majority of them (52%) consider themselves emotionally more or less lonely; that is, they complain about the absence of persons with whom they would share their feelings and would have something in common. On the other hand, 45% of respondents consider themselves socially more or less lonely; that is, these people complain about the absence of a social network, which consists of a circle of close family and friends”, - reads the report.