Ystäväpiiri- ja Omahoitovalmennus-toiminta

– Vähennämme iäkkäiden ihmisten yksinäisyyttä ja edistämme hyvinvointia

Ystäväpiiri-toiminta - Circle of friends® alleviating loneliness among older people

Ystäväpiiri-toiminta - Circle of friends® is based on rigorous training of professionals and volunteers.

The Circle of Friends group intervention for lonely older people has been systematically and widely implemented and disseminated in Finland for 13 years. The main idea of the Circle of Friends group is to alleviate and prevent loneliness of older people.

Circle of Friends group is a closed group, where the participants - older people - meet their peers 12 times in three months. The main objectives of the group are alleviation of the participants' loneliness and to promote their well-being. The main aim is also to help the group to become self-supportive: facilitators encourage participants to continue meeting on their own.

We have trained over 900 Circle of Friends group facilitators in Finland. More than 10 000 older people have participated in Circle of Friends groups.

Please contact us: anu.jansson a vtkl.fi and ystavapiiri a vtkl.fi 


From the left: Tarja Ylimaa, Marjo Pääkkö, Laura Rautiainen, Minna Partanen, Heidi Rytky-Ylinen and Anu Jansson.

Circle of Friends training model

Circle of Friends training is a five-months training model for social and health care professionals as well as for the volunteers. The facilitators take part in five one-day workshops, as well as facilitate their first Circle of Friends group during the training. The aim of the Circle of Friends training is to enhance the participants' (facilitators') knowledge and skills to plan and facilitate Circle of Friends group model, which have the following elements:

  • closed group dynamics
  • target-oriented work and learning
  • enhancing interaction between participants
  • peer support
  • empowerment
  • enhancing self-efficacy and mastery


Anu H Jansson, Niina M Savikko & Kaisu H Pitkälä (2017): Training professionals to implement a group model for alleviating loneliness among older people – 10-year follow-up study, Educational Gerontology.

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 

Circle of Friends training

Come on and join!