Principal investigator:
Mayte Sancho
Sara Marsillas, Elena del Barrio

Developed societies are facing a new structuring of models of coexistence that generate a growing number of people living alone along their life paths. This situation, when it occurs at a very advanced age, entails a certain social alarm that is leading different countries to design intervention strategies. Although living alone and feeling alone are different situations that need different and diverse approaches, it seems clear that planning to face loneliness must identify measures, resources, support products that offer security and protection to people, technological solutions and a set of ICTs that complement other measures related to the creation of the social fabric and accompaniment. 


Despite the relevance of this issue, in the Basque Country and in the specific case of Gipuzkoa, there is no information available that would allow us to know the current state of loneliness or its meaning for older people.

Description of the project

"Bakardadeak" (Solitudes, in Spanish) is the first initiative developed in Gipuzkoa in relation to the study of loneliness in the elderly. This project aims to respond to the need for a more in-depth and multidimensional knowledge of the 'solitude' construct of elderly people in Gipuzkoa, taking into account their own idiosyncrasies and socio-cultural context, in order to design a different and effective approach to its various facets. The different objective and subjective dimensions that characterise it will be taken into account, as well as the related intrapersonal, interpersonal and social variables, in order to make progress in the identification and implementation of interventions, services and resources that contribute to improving situations of loneliness.

The added value is posed in the realization of several investigations: a qualitative study, which will explore the social representations, perceptions and reasons associated with loneliness; a quantitative study, in which the profiles of loneliness, its prevalence and its characteristics will be known; an evaluation of the impact of the interventions currently carried out by the initiatives of voluntary action; and finally, the elaboration of a Political Strategy that would be innovative both in the Basque Country and in the State, positioning Gipuzkoa at the head in the approach of one of the most relevant social problems.

Specific Objectives

  • To study in depth the reasons, perceptions and impact of situations of loneliness or solitude on older people in Gipuzkoa.
  • To know the current situation of loneliness in quantitative terms.
  • To evaluate the impact of the interventions carried out by voluntary action initiatives.
  • To draw up a political strategy to prevent and deal with situations of loneliness among the elderly.

Who it is aimed at

The target population of this project is all people aged 55 and over living in Gipuzkoa who feel and live alone.


Project selected in the first call for proposals published in 2018 of the Gipuzkoa Provincial Council's Adinberri strategy. It is financed by the Department of Economic Promotion, Rural Affairs and Territorial Balance and the Department of Social Policies of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.


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