This new guide, produced by the Local Government Association (LGA) outlines what councils need to do to address loneliness in their local population. Although the guide focusses on older people it is anticipate that the recommendations will also be beneficial to other age groups.
The terms loneliness and social isolation are often used interchangeably, but it is possible for people to be isolated but not lonely and vice-versa. Acute loneliness has been consistently estimated to affect around 10-13 per cent of older people. Recent estimates place the number of people aged over 65 who are often or always lonely at over one million.
There is growing recognition that loneliness is a serious problem, with far reaching implications, not just for individuals, but also for wider communities. Whilst in the past, loneliness was sometimes viewed as a trivial matter, it is increasingly understood to be a serious condition which can affect a person’s mental and physical health very detrimentally.
In this guide the LGA set out a range of actions for effectively combating loneliness building on the latest evidence. It sets out a three-tiered framework for tackling loneliness: at a strategic level, in local communities and through one-to-one work with individuals.
“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ” John Steinbeck