Ethical Inquiry about Social and Psychological Situations of Elderly People Living Alone

Bibliographic Information

Other Title
  • 独居高齢者の社会的・精神的状況に関わる倫理原則の一考察 【原著論文】
  • 独居高齢者の社会的・精神的状況に関わる倫理原則の一考察
  • ドッキョ コウレイシャ ノ シャカイテキ ・ セイシンテキ ジョウキョウ ニ カカワル リンリ ゲンソク ノ イチ コウサツ

Search this article


In recent years there has been a growing awareness in psychological, sociological and nursing studies of the phenomenon of loneliness in elderly people. Several of these studies have emphasized the importance of alleviating loneliness in order to enhance life satisfaction in elderly people. It has also been observed that there are two contrasting types of elderly people. Those in one type are reconciled to living alone while those in the other suffer from social isolation. In this study, I consider the problems of elderly people living alone from two viewpoints, individual personalities and attitudes of surrounding people. They are the two important factors affecting, either positively or negatively, social and psychological situations arising in old age. First, I explore the question of how elderly people should adapt to being alone in later life. Next, I provide a brief outline of the studies of loneliness in elderly people. Moreover, I examine stigmatization and stereotyping of older people. From these issues, we can see that excessive respect for the ethical principle of autonomy is the main cause of the problems in older people as well as in the people surrounding them. I clarify the subject by considering the principle of vulnerability, which has been a particular focus in recent bioethical discussions, against that of autonomy. Finally, through applying the principle of vulnerability to the problems of the elderly living alone, future directions for the research are presented.


Related Projects

See more


Report a problem

Back to top