Social isolation and loneliness are an increasing concern as the world ages. According to the World Report on Ageing and Health, a striking 40% of older people feel lonely, and research by IFA expert Prof Martin Knapp has found that social isolation and loneliness place older people at greater risk of poor mental and physical health.
Fortunately, organizations, governments and communities around the world have begun to take action to combat social isolation and loneliness amongst older people. For example, the “Lonely No More” Program based in a rural area of Ontario, Canada aims to reduce loneliness amongst isolated seniors by holding a weekly conference call with fellow seniors and a volunteer facilitator.
Another strategy to reduce loneliness amongst older people comes from students in Black Isle, United Kingdom who created a game to promote conversation amongst older people.
Initiatives such as these allows others to check up on the health and needs of seniors without it seeming like they are being checked up on.
Social isolation and loneliness amongst older people are both growing problems that need to be addressed through innovative initiatives such as these. The International Federation on Ageing 15th Global Conference on Ageing will feature presentations from leading experts and academics on how to reduce loneliness and social isolation in later life.
Prof. Martin Knapp Professor of Social Policy
Professor Knapp's research focuses on dementia, mental health, autism, long-term social care, and often incorporates economic perspectives