Circle of Friends

Circle of Friends® alleviating loneliness among older people

Ryhmä keskustelee luontokorteista.

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 18 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 more than  1200 Circle of Friends group facilitators in Finland. More than 12 500 older people have participated in Circle of Friends groups.

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


Circle of Friends. Group intervention for lonely older people - alleviating loneliness and training facilitators.

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