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Working together to create vital connections with older people Laura Ferguson, Director, Campaign to End Loneliness www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk.

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Presentation on theme: "Working together to create vital connections with older people Laura Ferguson, Director, Campaign to End Loneliness www.campaigntoendloneliness.org.uk."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working together to create vital connections with older people Laura Ferguson, Director, Campaign to End Loneliness

2 To discuss… What is loneliness? What causes loneliness? The impacts of loneliness Combating loneliness: –Individual action –Improved interventions –Creative partnerships What the Campaign to End Loneliness will do

3 I want to visit family members more often but …the cost of petrol is too high and the cost of a train ticket is out of the question – I would have to win the lottery. Quoted in Listening to You, a baseline survey for the Campaign to End Loneliness, Cupitt (2011)

4 Definitions* Loneliness – personal perspective Isolation – can be counted by someone else Isolation can lead to loneliness, but sometimes solitude can be wonderful. *Adapted from Professor Mima Cattan, Northumbria University

5 Statistics on isolation and loneliness 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week, and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003) Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010) Half of all older people (over 5 million) say the television is their main company (Harrop and Jopling, 2009) 9% say they feel cut off from society (GfK/NOP, 2005) Just under 50% of older people are sometimes or always lonely and 10% of older people say they always feel lonely (Victor et al, 2003)

6 What causes loneliness? Wider society: Transport Physical environment Community involvement Housing Technology Change Personal: Health/ disability Income – determines activity Age – older old Life stages and change: bereavement

7 The impact of loneliness Health – physical and mental As big a risk to health as smoking and obesity A doubled risk of Alzheimers disease Greater likelihood of unhealthy life style Damage to immune and cardiovascular system Clear link to depression

8 Combating loneliness…

9 Combatting loneliness through.. Individuals taking action I know people contribute a lot toward making your life, but I do think youve got to try and make a life for yourself as well. I mean, I for one would not sit here for 3 weeks on my own with no one to talk to. Ive got a free bus pass and I would go to… one of the big places cause there is always somebody that will talk to you Quote from Safeguarding the Convoy, A Call to Action from the Campaign to End Loneliness, Age UK Oxfordshire (2011)

10 … working in communities e.g. Group interventions with a focused educational input or provide targeted support activities Target specific groups e.g. widowed, inactive Representative of the target group Consultation and control by the targeted Developed within an existing service (Cattan, 2005)

11 … working together to create vital connections Local statutory agencies partnering with local voluntary and community groups to.. Understand need via grassroots and mapping Fix baselines and milestones Existing money, small amounts of money, or no money Making loneliness a public health task

12 Where to start? Everyone taking responsibility to make a small difference Involving older people Identifying those who are lonely or are at risk of loneliness Ensuring the health impacts of loneliness are acted upon through local health commissioning Preventing loneliness at times of life-change

13 What will we do… Raise awareness - health impacts of loneliness. Nationwide campaign to influence health and wellbeing boards in Peer-learning – sharing what works in reducing loneliness – could your project be included? We will improve the knowledge base about loneliness – working with researchers and practitioners in the older age charity sector. We will inspire people approaching older age to futureproof their lives against loneliness.

14 Join us Receive the latest research news on combating loneliness o Sign up as a supporter – receive the latest research news on loneliness o Follow us on o to receive our e-updates Campaign to End Loneliness 3 Rufus Street, London N1 6PE

15 Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. Mother Teresa

16 References Cattan, M, White, M, Bond, J and Learmouth, A (2005). Preventing social isolation and loneliness among older people: a systematic review of health promotion interventions. Ageing and Society, 25, 1, 41–67 GfK/NOP (2005) Help Unite Generations (HUG) Survey for Help the Aged (unpublished) GfK/NOP (2006) Spotlight 2006 Survey for Help the Aged (unpublished) data was used in Help The Aged (2006) Spotlight Report 2006: spotlight on older people in the UK (Help the Aged: London) Harrop, A and Jopling, K (2009) One Voice: shaping our ageing society (Age Concern and Help the Aged) can be accessed online: Harrop, A and Jopling, K (2009) One Voice: shaping our ageing society (Age Concern and Help the Aged). Office for National Statistics (2010) General Lifestyle Survey 2008 (London: Office for National Statistics). Victor, C. Scambler, S, Bond, J and Bowling, A. Being alone in later life: loneliness, social isolation and living alone Reviews in Clinical Gerontology 2000 v.10 (4)


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