Campaign to End Loneliness launches online toolkit targeted at health and wellbeing boards
The idea that older people often suffer from loneliness is not exactly new, but the extent and impact of this problem is rarely discussed. This makes today’s launch of the new online tool kit designed by Forster for Campaign to End Loneliness all the more important. The charity coalition group highlighted that 8-10% of older people report feeling intensely lonely, and a further 20% are mildly lonely.
As life expectancy increases, the number of people 75 and older living alone has risen to over 50%. Many are in contact with friends, family and neighbours less than once a week (17%) and for 11% the contact level is even lower, at less than once a month. Over five million older people say that television is their main company.
At today’s “What do we know about loneliness?” conference Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow officially launches a new online toolkit for local councils and health organisations designed by Forster. The event is calling on councils and commissioners to take urgent action to combat the problem of loneliness for older people, which has been shown to impact on everything from cardiovascular disease and obesity rates, to cognitive decline and mental health problems. Campaign to End Loneliness is pushing for loneliness to be recognised as an equal priority to smoking cessation and anti-obesity drives.
Forster was tasked with developing a toolkit that could provide information and resources to enable health and wellbeing boards to identify those most at risk, prioritise the hardest to reach, involve older people in creating solutions and setting priorities, and ultimately take action to reduce loneliness.
The new portal is the first time Campaign to End Loneliness has created an online toolkit to engage with health and wellbeing boards. Professionals working for health and wellbeing boards tend to be very time poor, so the toolkit has been created in a way that will allow them to navigate this complex subject and detailed resource quickly and hone in on the relevant sections. The work has been funded by Department of Health.
It is set up to evolve over time, showcasing the success stories of the campaign and keeping those involved up to date with the latest developments via a news section and twitter feed.