Thursday, December 17, 2015

Preventing loneliness and social isolation among older people

Preventing loneliness and social isolation among older people was taken from Social Care Institute for Excellence and was co-produced with Contact the Elderly Read the full article at the link here

Key messages
·      Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility or income.

·   Social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Studies show that being lonely or isolated can influence blood pressure, and is closely linked to depression.

·    The impact of loneliness and social isolation on an individual’s health and wellbeing has cost implications for health and social care services. Investment is needed to ensure that voluntary organisations can continue to help alleviate loneliness and improve the quality of life of older people, reducing dependence on more costly services.

·    The range of interventions for alleviating loneliness and social isolation can be grouped into one-to-one interventions, group services and wider community engagement. Those that look most effective include befriending, social group schemes and Community Navigators.

This at a glance briefing explains the importance of tackling social isolation and loneliness, particularly among older people. It highlights the adverse effects of feeling isolated and describes a number of services that have been found to help reduce the problem.

The briefing is based on SCIE’s review of research evidence, published in Research briefing 39: preventing loneliness and social isolation: interventions and outcomes.  However, in addition to the research evidence, this At a glance also includes case study examples of two services provided in the UK to help mitigate loneliness and isolation and improve the wellbeing of older people.

These kinds of services, designed to improve wellbeing, sit within the wider ‘preventative agenda’. Preventive services offer a continuum of support ranging from the most intensive tertiary services, such as intermediate care or reablement, down to secondary or ‘early intervention’ and, finally, ‘primary prevention’, like the services discussed here, which aim to promote wellbeing. 

Like most approaches to primary prevention, services designed to reduce loneliness are normally aimed at people with relatively few health or social care needs. They are intended to reverse the negative impact on health that loneliness can have, prolong people’s independence, and improve overall quality of life.

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