LONELINESS: The Missing Million

The Campaign to End Loneliness has published a new report “Missing Million” looking into a problem that is of particular relevance for bodies working with older people. It also makes interesting reading for anyone with an elderly friend or relative living alone.

Download the full Report (PDF file)

More About The Report & Its Recommendations

The public and political attention on loneliness has sharpened significantly in recent years as the social, economic and moral case for tackling loneliness grows in awareness, evidence and support. In the United Kingdom, there are an estimated one million, one hundred thousand people over the age of 65 who are chronically lonely. There is a strong need to identify these missing million lonely older people.

Many organisations, charities and other interested parties, have expressed strong interest in further guidance and ideas on how to address the challenge of identifying loneliness. In
response, the Missing Million report has been compiled and published with three main aims:

  • To help commissioners and service providers develop methods to help them identify older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness.
  • To help commissioners and service providers to put these methods into practice.
  • To help front line service providers to better understand and respond to loneliness and engage older people experiencing loneliness in constructive dialogue.

10 Key Recommendations
The key recommendations for service providers and commissioners of services in the report are:

  • 1 Review the risk of loneliness within your community using the Age UK loneliness heat map. Overlay your service locations onto the map and overlay the map with data showing the location of individual service users. Consider whether it is likely that your service has high penetration rates into high risk areas and what might be done to communicate your service in hotspot locations.
  • 2 Map your local Risk of Loneliness Index data. Hold a multi-stakeholder workshop to assess how well current service provision corresponds to the spatial distribution of loneliness among older people across the locality. Engage your local Age UK office, health and wellbeing board, fire and rescue service, local third sector organisations, housing associations, relevant public services, and key local businesses (for example, local supermarkets and leisure providers) in your local workshop.
  • 3 Engage with your local fire and rescue service and explore how you can collaborate on loneliness among older people within a broad safe and well agenda. Seek to use Exeter data to guide resource allocation and, where technical capability allows, enrich the power of this dataset by combining it with other forms of data about the local population.
  • 4 The Community Insight tool gives rich information about localities and can help point to determinants of loneliness in a given neighbourhood. In areas in which it is important to understand and mobilise local community assets (including local residents), the Connected Communities method can be employed to use local people and knowledge to identify older people experiencing loneliness (and other vulnerable groups), and the sometimes hidden potential in communities that can help to alleviate loneliness.
  • 5 Work with partners to create a community resource directory that details a range of appropriate services and support for older people experiencing loneliness. Consider producing this in a range of electronic and hard copy formats and distribute widely, including to staff and volunteers who may come into contact with older people experiencing loneliness.
  • 6 Work with local GP surgeries to establish social prescribing schemes that specifically address loneliness among older people.
  • 7 Work with registrar departments, hospices, and GP surgeries to ensure recently bereaved older people are given information about local opportunities for social contact.
  • 8 Ensure older people with sensory impairments are supported to access mainstream and
    specific services and support.
  • 9 Work with older people who are already engaged in your service/activities to identify
    and engage other older people who may be experiencing loneliness or who are at risk of becoming lonely.
  • 10 Base your approach to engaging in dialogue about loneliness with an older person on the core conditions: communicate empathy, genuineness and regard for the person you are talking with. Do not speak in ways that infantilise or patronise the other person.
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