Ystäväpiiri-toiminta lievittää iäkkäiden ihmisten yksinäisyyttä Ystäväpiiri-koulutuksen ja -ryhmätoiminnan keinoin.

Circle of Friends - group model alleviating loneliness

Circle of friends is a group model for older people, who experience loneliness from time to time or perhaps every day. The aim is alleviate and prevent loneliness.

A Circle of Friends group convenes 12 times in three months and has a maximum of 8 members. The purpose of the group is for the participants to make new friends, feel less lonely, share the feelings of loneliness, as well as to do and experience meaningful things together with other group members. The aim is also to help the groups to become self-supportive and encourage them to continue meeting on their own.

Please contact us: ystavapiiri a vtkl.fi

Marjo, Anu, Minna, Tarja ja Laura.jpg

Circle of Friends training model

Circle of Friends offers a five-day training for social and health care professionals and volunteers. The aim of the Circle of Friends training is to enhance the participants' knowledge and skills to plan, implement and guide Circle of Friends groups, which have the following main elements:

  • closed group dynamics
  • target-oriented work and learning
  • enhancing communication between participants
  • peer support
  • empowerment
  • enhancing self-efficacy and mastery
Circle of Friends training model ilman otsikkoa.jpg

Circle of Friends activities alleviate loneliness

According to feedback (n=611)

  • 91 % of the respondents experienced that their feelings of loneliness alleviated during the Circle of Friends group activities
  • 61 % continued meetings even after the organised group activities had ended
  • Over 800 group facilitators have been trained so far
  • Over 8,000 elderly people have participated in Circle of Friends groups in Finland
  • 98 % of the respondents recommend the Circle of Friends group model

Based on the evidence

In 2002-2006 we conducted the Research and Development Project on Geriatric Rehabilitation. The project studied the loneliness of elderly Finnish people, its prevalence and reasons as well as the alleviating effect of group activities on feelings of loneliness.

According to the randomized controlled trial conducted in this project, a goal-oriented, correctly targeted and well-planned psychosocial group rehabilitation:

  • improves the psychosocial well-being, memory functions and health of older people suffering from loneliness
  • reduces the use of social and health services and the costs of social and health care within the intervention group: the difference between the intervention group and the control group countervails the costs of the group rehabilitation


Jansson A.H, Muurinen S, Savikko N, Soini H, Suominen M.M, Kautiainen H, Pitkälä K.H. Loneliness in nursing homes and assisted living facilities: prevalence, associated factors and prognosis. Jour Nursing Home Res 2017;3:43-49

Jansson A, Ylimaa T, Helin S, Pitkälä K. Circle of Friends – Group Model Alleviating Loneliness. Poster Presentation IAGG-ER Dublin 2015, Social Gerontology, Fri. 24th April. 

Circle of Friends, poster IAGG-ER Dublin 24.4.2015
Circle of Friends, poster IAGG-ER Dublin 24.4.2015
740 KB, päivitetty 27.4.2015

Pitkälä KH, Routasalo P, Kautiainen H, Sintonen H, Tilvis RS.Effects of socially stimulating group intervention on lonely, older people's cognition: a randomized, controlled trial. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, Volume: 19, Issue: 7, Date: 2011 Jul , Pages: 654-63.

Savikko N, Routasalo P, Tilvis R, Pitkälä K. Psychosocial group rehabilitation for lonely older people: favourable processes and mediating factors of the intervention leading to alleviated loneliness. International Journal of Older People Nursing 2010 Mar 5 (1): 16-24.

Routasalo PE, Pitkälä KH, Kautiainen H, Tilvis RS. Effects of psychosocial group rehabilitation on social functioning, loneliness and well-being of lonely, older people: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing Feb2009, Vol. 65,2,297-305.

Pitkälä H, Routasalo P, Kautiainen H, Tilvis RS. Effects of Psychosocial Group Rehabilitation on Health, Use of Health Care Services, and Mortality of Older Persons Suffering From Loneliness: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Journal of Geronotology 2009:64,792-800.

Circle of Friends alleviates loneliness.

Concept of Circle of Friends. 

Training programme.

Come on and join!