Abstract: In this article, issues of loneliness and exclusion from social relations in old age are examined from the perspective of older men and women. Our focus is on sources of loneliness they themselves perceive and what strategies they use to cope with it. Twenty‐nine interviews with older adults at risk of loneliness in the Czech Republic and their models of social convoys are analyzed. Surprisingly small gender differences in feelings of loneliness are found. A major source of loneliness for both men and women is the loss of a life partner. Perceptions of loneliness and the shape of social networks differ substantially in the case of lifelong singles and childless people. A second significant source for feelings of loneliness includes unsatisfactory relationships with close family. Based on the participants’ accounts, three strategies for coping with loneliness are identified.
Keywords: gender; loneliness; marital status; older adults; social exclusion; social relations