This blog was contributed by Vinal K Karania, Research Manager at Age UK, and looks at what works in tackling loneliness.
We all feel lonely at times and for many it is nothing more than a passing emotion. For some this feeling can become entrenched, and negatively impact upon their quality of life. This can be overcome with appropriate support, but what is the right support? The What Works Centre for Wellbeing recently made a call for evidence to build a picture of what works in reducing loneliness in people at all stages of life and will report its findings later in the year.
Do we know more about what works than we realise? In short, the answer is yes:
People in poor health are 1.9 times more likely to report feeling lonely than those in good health
People who are widow(er)s are 3.6 times more likely to be lonely than those who are married.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published a report on the characteristics linked with feeling lonely, which found that while people of all ages can be lonely, there are some groups particularly at risk – and there is a strong association with poor health and being widowed.
Marjorie Barker blogs about “overwhelming” loneliness she felt in later life, what she did to combat it and the importance of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness.
When you’re alone, you feel that you can’t achieve anything. This is why the work of Age UK and the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is so important.
Nobody anticipates loneliness, it just happens. For me it came a decade ago, when my husband Alan developed vascular dementia and I became his carer. Not only did the man I had shared so much with no longer recognise me, but I also lost contact with everything and everyone I had known before. I couldn’t go out, as Alan could not be left alone.
Meaningful conversation was no longer possible with my husband, and for seven years my main form of human interaction came at Alan’s appointments at the memory clinic.
Jo Cox was a doer. She became an MP to change things. She was driven by compassion and a clear sense of right and wrong which led her to get involved in a number of issues in parliament and beyond which sat above party politics: from the plight of civilians caught up in the Syrian conflict to the lonely lives of some of her constituents in Batley and Spen in Yorkshire. Continue reading “Guest blog: Combating loneliness together”
The devastating impact loneliness can have on our mental and physical health makes it an issue we simply cannot ignore. For a growing number of older people, loneliness defines and shatters their lives.
But loneliness is also a deeply personal experience – a problem with different causes and consequences for every one of us. This is what makes addressing loneliness so complex. And despite a wide and growing recognition of the substantial public health implications of loneliness and the urgent need to take action, there is a significant knowledge gap among funders and commissioners about what really works in addressing it.