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VOLUME 9, NUMBER 4, 2006

Social Isolation and Loneliness: Perspectives from the UK
Thomas Scharf in Christina Victor

Gerontological research has consistently demonstrated a strong and positive relationship between social participation, especially within kin and wider social networks, and a high quality of life. Within the context of older people's participation in social and civic roles, this article explores the prevalence of social isolation and loneliness among older people living in divergent community settings in the United Kingdom. Data are presented from two recent empirical studies that addressed common themes, showing similarities and differences according to the type of community in which older people reside. The analysis indicates that most older people in Britain are actively engaged in a variety of informal and formal social relationships. By contrast, relatively few older people are affected by the most acute forms of social isolation and loneliness. However, while isolation appears to be lowest in neighbourhoods marked by high levels of social deprivation, these areas report the highest rates of loneliness. The article concludes with some suggestions for future research on loneliness and isolation in later life.

Key words: older people; social relationships; social isolation; loneliness; United Kingdom

The role of the institute of family assistant in preserving the quality of old age of disabled people
Vida Slemenšek Kovačević

There are various institutions taking care of disabled people in Slovenia. The quality of life in these institutions depends on numerous factors - mostly, however, on reestablished balance between assuring material conditions and satisfying the needs for interpersonal human coexistence. Supply of material goods is increasingly better. Institutions, however, do not offer optimum conditions to increase the quality of interpersonal human coexistence - that is why new forms of care for disabled people are being sought for.

One of such forms is an institute of family assistant, introduced in 2004. This is the right to choose a family assistant or the right to assistance, when performing all the living necessities, required by a severely mentally disordered adult person or by a severely mobility-disabled person.

The right to choose a family assistant presents a disabled person with a possibility of choice to stay at home in the conditions of being provided with appropriate domestic care, instead of daylong stay in one of the forms of institutional care. In this case a disabled person is provided with the help of family assistant, who performs the tasks in the field of personal care, healthcare, social care and organizing the activities of free time as well as housekeeping help.

The fact that domestic care encountered a positive reception on the side of disabled people and in society as a whole confirms a great interest of disabled people for this kind of help, which is expressed in standing growth of the number of disabled people with the right to choose a family assistant and the number of applications for acquiring the status of family assistant.

Since the beginning of the performance of the service until today the right to choose a family assistant has been acquired by 1245 disabled people. Most of them are females, severely mobility-disabled, older than 55 years. Based on these data it is possible to conclude that the institute of a family assistant has an important role in preserving the quality of old age among disabled people: the right to choose a family assistant is mostly connected with older population of disabled people. In most cases a disabled person chooses family members as family assistants.

Key words: family assistant, a disabled person, a mentally disordered person, severely mobility-disabled people, institutional care

Property arrangement among generations
Senka Vrbica

When death and property are connected, this usually leads to certain conflicts or at least to resentment among people, involved in this situation. This is partially the consequence of our unacceptance of our own death. We should accept our mortality and make some property arrangements while we still can. If we want to leave this world peacefully, we shouldn't let our departure have a negative impact on the relations among closer relatives. We should inform ourselves on legal possibilities, and with mediation among relatives prevent potential conflicts or solve already present conflicts regarding the property. Basic information is accessible within the free legal aid.

Key words: death, property, heir, legacy, mediation

The meaning and influence which a "Course for a better understanding of a family member, who lives in an old people's home" has on relatives
Renata Esih

The article outlines the main findings of the author's qualitative study on the meaning and influence of a "Course for a better understanding of a family member who lives in an old people's home". The author analysed the interviews with family members who were included in a training course in Špesov dom Vojnik and in relatives' club (family members support group). It seems that education and relatives' club are successful solutions for solving distress of relatives who have family member in an old people's home. After attending the course and the club, the relatives had more positive opinion on old age, old people's home and its personnel. They improved their communication with old people. There was also better connection and contact between the old people's home and relatives.

Key words: old age, ageing, distress of relatives, club for relatives, elderly in old people's home

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