Details zu 10.14361/9783839445549-009

Lubica Volanská, Marcela Kácerová, Juraj Majo
On Nearness and Distance
Seniors' Lives in Urban Areas in Slovakia
DOI: 10.14361/9783839445549-009
Demographic development in European countries related to aging societies is showing similarities connected to various historical issues. Differences between countries are more pronounced in the timing of particular demographic processes (Voľanská, 2016). However, traditional or long-term family patterns play an important role in structuring social networks of elderly people in different geographic areas in Europe (Hank 2007). In Europe, economic and social independence in the group of elderly people are definitely some of the significant tokens of their subjective wellbeing as well as active and healthy aging. Especially economic independence is desirable in the societies of (post-socialist) transitive economic systems like Slovakia and freedom in financial decisions is highly valued even among retired individuals (Rochovská/Majo/Káčerová/Ondoš 2017). On the other hand, such independence in many cases indicates solitude. This is the stage of life where the social networks might be deeply influenced and altered and feelings of loneliness are connected with the “empty nest phase” of life or the departure of spouses. Having in mind the cultural values and attitudes regarding, for example, the promotion of preferences or the suitability of close intergenerational relationships, we attempt to approach and analyze households with individuals over 65. There might be structural differences between individuals living in rural areas with presumed higher possibilities of social networking and individuals living in cities, where the large neighborhoods might be more hostile toward (especially) psychologically healthy aging. We try to compare individuals living alone in these landscapes, comparing possible geographically distinct characteristics. The use of various methods (analysis of census data related to single-person households with socio-demographic variables enabling us to approach this topic in broader spatial context, in combination with qualitative biographical narrative interviews as well as semi-structured focused interviews and walking interviews) is based on the interdisciplinary cooperation of researchers with a background in human geography and social anthropology, which enables a deep insight into the problem of solitude in present-day Slovakia.