North East Lincolnshire’s Public Health team is hosting a series of interactive seminars for all those stakeholders who contribute to or influence the health and wellbeing of our local population.
Using an outcome based accountability approach, these seminars will cover a range of interesting “hot” topics. All topics will cover significant, ongoing and persistent health issues for North East Lincolnshire, which require stakeholders to work together and implement new and innovative approaches.
Seminar 3: Loneliness and Social Isolation amongst older people
Date: Thursday 17th March 2016
Time: 9am – 12 noon
Venue: Conference Room, Innovation Centre, Europarc
While the terms ‘loneliness’ and ‘isolation’ are sometimes used as if they were synonymous, they refer to two different concepts. Isolation refers to separation from social or familial contact, community involvement, or access to services. Loneliness, by contrast, can be understood as an individual’s personal, subjective sense of lacking these things. It is possible to be isolated without being lonely, and to be lonely without being isolated. One can feel lonely in the midst of other people. Older family members and care home residents may not appear to be physically isolated, but their relationship with the people they live with may not be enough to ward off loneliness, particularly when the death of friends and loved ones takes away the companionship they need.
Sensory deprivation, especially severe hearing loss, depression and cognitive decline (and sometimes the medication taken to treat them) can all create physical barriers, meaning that the isolation experienced by older people in group settings can be just as severe as for those living on their own. This could be especially severe for those older people whose first language is not English, and who revert to their mother tongue with the advance of dementia.
Despite the lack of concrete evidence on the prevention of loneliness, there is a body of research on loneliness itself. Estimates of prevalence of loneliness tend to concentrate on the older population and they vary widely, with reputable research coming up with figures varying between 6 and 13 per cent of the UK population being described as often or always lonely.
- Social isolation and loneliness have a detrimental effect on health and wellbeing. Studies show that being lonely or isolated can impact on blood pressure and is closely linked to depression. Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility or income.
It is very difficult to estimate how many older people in North East Lincolnshire are either socially isolated and/or lonely as there is a significant lack of local data on the issue. The impact of loneliness on both emotional wellbeing and physical health cannot however be underestimated and so it requires stakeholders to continue to come together to identify new ways forward.
Who is this seminar for?
- Any organisation who works directly with and for older people
- Any service who come into contact with potentially lonely/socially isolated older people as part of their work (eg Fire and Rescue Service, PCSOs, Royal Mail, Waste Collection services etc)
We would like as many people to attend to make these seminars as successful as possible, so please ensure that your service and the important influence it has on the lives of older people is represented. The agenda for the seminar can be found here.
Please let Lynne Mallinson know if you will be able to attend by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on telephone number 325635 by Friday 4 March 2016.