AUAS combats loneliness in the city

27 Sep 2018 12:18 | Communication

More than 80,000 residents of Amsterdam feel seriously lonely. This has a negative impact on their participation in society and their health. 27 September marked the launch of national loneliness week, a theme that the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) is actively working to address.

Here are four examples of how the AUAS is lending a helping hand:

Example 1: Loneliness Knowledge Alliance

AUAS is combining its knowledge in those places where the need is the greatest. At the start of this year, AUAS made an offer to the city of Amsterdam to tackle the issues surrounding loneliness, in cooperation with the VU, VoorUit and the New-West district. This took concrete form in the Loneliness Knowledge Alliance, regularly bringing together teachers, students and researchers to work together on this tough issue.

Example 2: Sharing Expertise

As part of loneliness week, AUAS is organising an inspiration session for all students working on the theme of health in the city. Students from the Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, ‘Mensendieck’ Exercise Therapy programmes and the international minor Global Health teamed up to discuss the issues surrounding loneliness in interdisciplinary teams.

Example 3: Loneliness as an underlying cause

In 2016, the professorship Quality and Effectiveness in Youth Care started a survey of participation by young people with psychiatric and/or behavioural issues. The results showed that experiencing a lack of social support and loneliness hampered participation by these people. Researchers from the AUAS Research Institute for Societal Innovation are currently working together with professionals and young adults on developing interventions aimed at offering social support and combatting loneliness.

Example 4: Young and old tackle loneliness together

In 2015 and 2016, The Seniors and Students Foundation connected more than 100 elderly people with students. These Amsterdam residents were brought together on the basis of shared interests and then spent several hours together each month. Is this intervention contributing to combatting loneliness among the elderly? The Community Care research group is investigating its effectiveness via conversations with senior-student pairs, observation and questionnaires.