Social closeness in a time of physical distance: supportive helpline calls with older people during the Covid-19 crisis

Primary Investigator:  Marcus Persson, PhD (Linköping University).

Collaborators: Clara Iversen, PhD (CESAR, Uppsala University), David Redmalm, PhD (Mälardalen University) & Marie Flinkfeldt, PhD (CESAR, Uppsala University).

Funder: Swedish Research Council (VR).

Duration: 2020–2022.

Project Description: For older people, the Covid-19-crisis is potentially a crisis on three levels. First, there is a worry of becoming ill. Second, there is an increased isolation with potential physical and psychological consequences. Third, the crisis can invoke existential questions as advice to older people is justified both in relation to their own and others’ health.

A service aimed at responding to all of these aspects of the crisis is The Elderly Line, a helpline where older people can talk to a volunteer. This project records calls to this helpline and aims to examine how older people and volunteers manage emotional, practical, and existential aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic in interactions with one another. The study draws on conversation analysis to examine calls in detail.

Last modified: 2022-01-25