Older People Living Alone in Lithuania: Challenges of Social Inclusion

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 11:45
Oral Presentation
Sarmite MIKULIONIENE, Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Vilnius, Vilnius, Lithuania
Margarita GEDVILAITĖ - KORDUŠIENĖ, Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Lithuania
The paper examines the social inclusion / exclusion of older adults living in one-person households. Although the family unit remains to be significantly important living arrangement for individuals, one of the key changes in Lithuania is increasing proportion of single-person households. They comprised 28 % in 2005, while in 2016 – even 39 % (Eurostat-SILC, 2017). Among older people (65+) nearly half (46 %) are living in single-person households, and that is the highest indicator among the EU member states (Eurostat-SILC, 2017). Due to low fertility the kin networks will become narrower in the future. Thus, demographic trends presuppose increasing share of single-person households. On the other hand, in the last decade the Governmental policy on residential care is changing: more older people are expected to choose to reside for longer within their own home and local community. Therefore the challenges to ensure community based services and community aged-care packages still remain in Lithuania. That could increase possibility to be socially excluded in old age, and single persons could be especially vulnerable group in this sense.

This study uses original nationally representative data from the survey “Older people living alone: trends, profiles and challenges to intergenerational integration - OPLA” carried out in Lithuania in 2017-2018. The OPLA is financed by Lithuanian Research Council (No. GER-001/2017).

Main challenges associated with increasing number of single older adults in Lithuania are discussed and research-based recommendations on social integration methods for this older age group are provided. The paper concludes by discussing conceptual, methodological and policy issues revealed by the research, particularly in relation to the issue of preventing single older adults from social exclusion.