Date of publishing:




In public discourse, there is a general belief that an urbanized society is not well prepared to meet the societal challenge of an aging population. At first glance, older people do not seem to fit into the dynamic environment of cities, but are automatically associated with the idea of ​​a more tranquil life in the countryside. In the paper, we will therefore focus on the social networks of seniors and their loneliness in the urban environment, paradoxically with a high population density, variation of lifestyles, attitudes, interests. Usually in the city we expect a higher probability of innovative ways of grasping and handling with the practical consequences of absent or diminishing social networks, often resulting in feeling of loneliness, whether in the form of informal ties between neighbors, acquaintances, colleagues or random meetings in busy public spaces. The city has great potential to reduce loneliness in the daily lives of seniors and thus address one of the serious factors reducing their quality of life.
In the research, we were interested in how seniors living in selected Slovak cities reflect their social networks. Where resides the emphasis: is it family or community? The research is based on a mixed method using a questionnaire method implemented on a sample of 1026 seniors living in cities in Slovakia in combination with qualitative in-depth ethnographic interviews with seniors on the topic of their social networks.


seniors, social networks, loneliness, family, community, city

Article Text


Andrews, Gavin – Kearns, Robin A. – Kontos, Pia – Wilson, Viv. 2006. ‘Their finest hour’: Older people, oral histories, and the historical geography of social life. Social & Cultural Geography 7, 2: 153–177.
Bath, Peter A. – Gardiner, Alison. 2005. Social engagement and health and social care use and medication use among older people. European Journal of Ageing 2, 1: 56–63. htps://
Bien, Walter. 2000. Die multilokale Familie. Beziehungen zwischen den Generationen am Beispiel von Deutschland. In: Ehmer, Josef – Gutschner, Peter (eds.): Das Alter im Spiel der Generationen. Wien: Böhlau: 193–209.
Bruine de Bruin, Wändi – Parker Andrew M. – Strough, JoNoel. 2020. Age differences in reported social networks and well-being. Psychol Aging 35, 2: 159–168. 10.1037/pag0000415.
Buffel, Tine – Phillipson, Chris – Scharf, Thomas. 2012. Ageing in urban environments: Developing ‘age-friendly’ cities. Critical Social Policy 32, 4: 597–617.
Buffel, Tine – Phillipson, Chris. 2016. Can global cities be ‘age-friendly’ cities? Urban development and ageing populations. Cities 55: 94–100.
Carter Taylor, Marry Anne – Cook, Kelli. 1995. Adaptation to Retirement: Role Changes and Psychological Resources. The Career Development Quarterly 44, 1: 67–82. Dostupné z:
Carstensen, Laura L. 1993. Motivation for social contact across the life span: A theory of socioemotional selectivity. In: Jacobs, Janis E. (ed.): Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 40: 209–254.
de Belvis, Antonio G. – Avolio, Maria – Spagnolo, Antonio et al. 2008. Factors associated with health-related quality of life: the role of social relationships among the elderly in an Italian region. Public Health 122, 8: 784–793.
Dowd, Jennifer Beam – Rotondi, Valentina – Andriano, Liliana – Brazel, David M. – Block, Per – Ding, Xuejie – Liu, Yan – Mills, Melinda. 2020. Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19 [online]. [2018-10-27]. Dostupné z:
Dyk, Silke – Lessenich, Stephan. 2009. Ambivalenzen der (De-) Aktivierung: Altwerden im flexiblen Kapitalismus. WSI-Mitteilungen 62: 540–546.
Ekerdt, David. 1986. The Busy Ethic: Moral Continuity Between Work and Retirement. The Gerontologist 26, 3: 239–244.
Falťan, Ľubomír et al. 2011. Malé vidiecke sídla začiatkom 21. storočia. Bratislava: Sociologický ústav SAV.
Fitzgerald, Kelly – Caro, G. Francis. 2014. An Overview of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Around the World. Journal of Aging and Social Policy 26: 1–18.
Grundy, Emily – Henretta, John. 2006. Between elderly parents and adult children: a new look at the intergenerational care provided by the ‘sandwich generation’. Ageing and Society 26, 5: 707–722.
Hagestad, Gunhild – Uhlenberg, Peter. 2007. The impact of demographic changes on relations: A comparative perspective. In: Schaie, Warner K. – Uhlenberg, Peter (eds.): Social structures: Demographic changes and the well-being of elder persons. New York: Springer: 239–261.
Hajnal, John. 1983. Two Kinds of PreIndustrial Household Formation System. In: Wall, Richard (ed.): Family Forms in Historic Europe. Cambridge: 65–104.
Han, Hoon Jung – Kim, Jun-Hyung. 2016. Variations in Ageing in Home and Ageing in Neighbourhood. Australian Geographer 48, 2: 255–272.
Hank, Karsten. 2007. Proximity and Contacts Between Older Parents and Their Children: A European Comparison. Journal of Marriage and Family 69, 1: 157–173.
Hasmanová Marhánková, Jaroslava. 2011. Leisure in old age: disciplinary practices surrounding the discourse of active ageing. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life 6, 1: 532.
Herzánová, Ľubica. 2008. In die Rente gehen – das Verlassen des Arbeitsplatzes als ein Übergangsritus? In: Roth, K. (ed.): Feste, Feiern, Rituale im östlichen Europa. Studien zur sozialistischen und postsozialistischen Festkultur. Freiburger Sozialanthropologische Studien, zv. 21. Münster: LIT Verlag: 137–161.
Hjälm, Anna. 2012. Because we know our limits: Elderly parents' views on intergenerational proximity and intimacy. Journal of Aging Studies 26, 3: 296–308.
Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2012. The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Hrozenská, Martina. 2013. Medzigeneračná solidarita z perspektívy vzťahov medzi dospelými deťmi a ich starnúcimi rodičmi. Pedagogika 4, 3: 197–213. Dostupné z:
ISSP Research Group. 2019. International Social Survey Programme: Social Networks and Social Resources - ISSP 2017. GESIS Data Archive, Cologne. ZA6980 Data file Version 2.0.0.
Káčerová, Marcela – Ondačková, Jana. 2020. How seniors live from an economic, health, social and emotional point of view? Multidimensional review of the quality of life of seniors in Europe. Geographia Polonica 93, 2: 183–209.
Káčerová, Marcela – Majo, Juraj – Ondoš, Slavomír – Rochovská, Alena. 2019. Old age in the city. Life of seniors in urban Slovakia. Bratislava: Comenius University in Bratislava.
Katz, Stephen. 2000. Busy Bodies: Activity, Aging, and the Management of Everyday Life. Journal of Aging Studies 14, 2: 135–152.
Keller, Jan. 2004. Dějiny klasické sociologie. Praha : Slon.
Lamb, Sarah (ed.). 2017. Successful Ageing as a Contemporary Obsession. Rutgers University Press.
Laslett, Peter. 1996. A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of Third Age. London: Basingstoke, Hants.
Le Bras, Hervé. 1995. La fécondité, condition de la perpétuation. Évolutions divergentes en Europe. (Fertility, a condition of perpetuation. Divergent developments in Europe). In: Gullestad, Marianne – Segalen, Martine (dir.): La famille en Europe: Parenté et perpétuation familiale. The family in Europe: Kinship and family perpetuation. Paris: La Découverte: 23–43.
Macháček, Ladislav (ed.). 2003. Generačný problém ako spoločný problém generácií. SSS pri SAV sekcia mládeže a sekcia pedagogickej sociológie Slovenskej pedagogickej spoločnosti. Dostupné z:
Milligan, Christine. 2009. There’s No Place Like Home: Place and Care in an Ageing Society. Farnham Surrey, Burlington: Ashgate.
Mitterauer, Michael. 1997. „Das moderne Kind hat zwei Kinderzimmer und acht Grosseltern“. Die Entwicklung in Europa. In: Mitterauer, Michael – Ortmayr, Norbert (eds.): Familie im 20. Jahrhundert. Traditionen, Probleme, Perspektiven. Frankfurt am Main: 13–52.
Možný, Ivo. 1990. Moderní rodina : mýty a skutečnosti. Praha.
Mulkay, Michael. 1992. Social Death in Britain. The Sociological Review 40: 31–49.
Muffels, Ruud J. A. 1998. Stárnutí a flexibilizace. Hrozba nebo výzva pro sociální stát. Sociologický časopis 34, 3: 283–302.
Nosková, Jana. 2014. Biografická metoda a metoda orální historie: na příkladu výzkumu každodenního života v socializmu. Brno: Etnologický ústav AV ČR.
Payne, Jan. 2005. Kvalita života a zdraví. Praha: Triton.
Phillipson, Chris – Scharf, Thomas. 2005. Rural and urban perspectives on growing old: developing a new research agenda. European Journal of Ageing 2, 2: 67–75. Dostupné z:
Podmanický, Ivan – Podmanická, Zuzana. 2010. Súčasná rodina v Slovenskej republike a problematika rodinného života v 21. storočí. In: Spoločnosť, kríza, rodina. Zborník z medzinárodnej vedeckej konferencie. Ružomberok: Pedagogická fakulta Katolíckej univerzity: 423–431.
Powel, Gary N. 1999. Handbook of gender and work. Thousand Oaks, London – New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Rochovská, Alena – Majo, Juraj – Káčerová, Marcela. 2014. Súčasná realita vzťahov na slovenskom vidieku: vidiecke komunity v ohrození alebo ako kapitalizmus pretvára sociálne vzťahy na dedine. In: Chorvát, T. (ed.): Miestne komunity III. Odraz spoločenského vývoja po roku 1918 na charaktere a štruktúre miestnych komunít na Slovensku. Banská Bystrica: Centrum vedy a výskumu UMB: 39–55.
Rochovská, Alena – Majo, Juraj – Káčerová, Marcela – Ondoš, Slavomír. 2017. Priateľské sídlisko alebo o dôležitosti prostredia pre zdravú komunitu seniorov. Geographia Cassoviensis 11, 2: 184–200.
Robert, Stephanie A. 2002. Community Context and Aging. Research on Aging 24, 6: 579–599.
Rosenthal, Gabriele. 2004. Biographical Research. In: Seale, Clive – Gobo, Giampietro – Gubrium, Jaber F. – Silverman, David (eds.): Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage: 48–64.
Rosenthal, Gabriele. 2015. Interpretative Sozialforschung: Eine Einführung. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.
Seifert, Alexander. 2020. Day-to-Day Contact and Help Among Neighbors Measured in the Natural Environment. Innovation in Aging 4, 2: 1–13.
Sixsmith, Judith et al. 2014. Healthy ageing and home: The perspectives of very old people in five European countries. Social Science & Medicine 106: 1––9.
Slavík, Vladimír – Grác, Robért. 2009. Proces urbanizácie a migrácie obyvateľstva v kontexte vývoja sídelnej štruktúry Slovenskej republiky. In: Bleha et al.: Populačný vývoj Slovenska na prelome tisícročí kontinuita či nová éra? Bratislava: Geo-grafika.
Suanet, Bianca – van Groenou, Marjolein I. Broese – van Tilburg, Theo G. 2017. Social network type and informal care use in later life: a comparison of three Dutch birth cohorts aged 75–84. Ageing & Society 39, 4: 749–770.
Šprocha, Branislav – Vaňo, Boris (eds.). 2015. Populačný vývoj v Slovenskej republike 2014. INFOSTAT – Inštitút informatiky a štatistiky Bratislava.
Štatistický úrad SR. 2020. Vekové zloženie – SR, oblasti, kraje, okresy, mesto, vidiek [online]. [2020-10-04]. Dostupné z:
Šuška, Pavel – Šveda, Martin. 2019. Suburbanizácia : ako sa mení zázemie Bratislavy? (Suburbanization: to what extent has Bratislava’s hinterland changed?) Bratislava: Geografický ústav SAV. Dostupné z: <> .
Švecová, Soňa. 1989. Dva typy tradičnej roľníckej rodiny v Československu. Český lid 76: 210–222.
Stückler, Andreas. 2017. „Aktives Altern“ und die Krise der Arbeit. Warum die Altersaktivierung die demographische Problematik nicht lösen wird. Soziale Probleme 28: 75–99.
Temelová, Jana – Slezáková, Alena. 2014. The changing environment and neighbourhood satisfaction in socialist high-rise panel housing estates: The time-comparative perceptions of elderly residents in Prague. Cities 37: 82–91.
van Hoof, Joost – Kazak, Jan K. – Perek-Białas, Jolanta P. – Peek, Sebastiaan T. M. 2018. The Challenges of Urban Ageing: Making Cities Age-Friendly in Europe. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 15, 11: 2473.
Vidovićová, Lucie – Galčanová, Lucie – Sýkorová, Dana. 2013. Staří ve městě, město v živote senioru. Brno: Masarykova univerzita; Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství..
Vidovićová, Lucie – Gregorová, Eva. 2010. Nová města a staří lidé. Sociální studia 3: 81–93.
Voľanská, Ľubica. 2016. V hlave tridsať, v krížoch sto. Starnutie v autobiografiách v Bratislave a Viedni. Bratislava: VEDA, Ústav etnológie SAV.
Voľanská, Ľubica. 2018. „Starneme pri tom, že stále niečo robíme...“ Dôchodok ako voľný čas? Národopisná revue 27, 2: 103–118.
Vrzgulová, Monika – Voľanská, Ľubica – Salner, Peter. 2017. Rozprávanie a mlčanie, Medzigeneračná komunikácia v rodine. Bratislava: VEDA, Ústav etnológie SAV.
Wahl, Hans Werner – Oswald Frank. 2010. Environmental perspectives on ageing. In: Phillipson, P. C. – Dannefer, D. (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Social Gerontology. London: Sage Publications Ltd.: 111–124.
Wenger, G. Clare. 1996. Social networks and gerontology. Reviews in Clinical Gerontology 6: 285–293.
Záhorcová, Lucia – Halama, Peter – Škrobáková, Žaneta – Bintliff, Amy Vatne – Navarová, Simona. 2021. Qualitative analysis of transition from work to retirement among Slovak retirees. Current Psychology 40: 1531–1545.