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Suvi-Maria Saarelainen

University of Eastern Finland
Unravelling existential suffering and its relation to depression in older adults: EXIST-well in nursing homes (CAT Program)
14 November 2022 -
18 November 2022

Suvi-Maria Saarelainen is currently an University Lecturer at the School of Theology which belongs to the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Eastern Finland. She conducts research that sits at the boundaries of existential psychology, psychology of religion, theology, and gerontology. Her studies have focused finding out what makes life meaningful in the midst of crises and how (or life) meaning is newly built after losing the meaningfulness. Recently she has been working with projects focusing on the home-based palliative care of the older people. In addition, she has been studying the use of technology as part of existential care of the older people.

In November 2021, she joins the Paris IAS as part of the CAT program.

Research Interests

Meaning in life, existential crises, elderly care, palliative care, religious coping, spirituality in healthcare.

The ageing of the world's population is accompanied by an increase in comorbidities and disabilities. This leads to the need for long-term care in nursing homes, which report alarming levels of depressive symptomatology. Professionals in these institutions also report existential difficulties experienced by their residents.
No studies are currently available on the subject. This interdisciplinary project therefore fills this gap by clarifying the relationship between geriatric depressive symptoms and existential concerns, with the aim to develop the psycho-educational training of nursing home care professionals.

Contemporary period (1789-…)
Western Europe