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Tackling Social isolation amongst older people

8 September 2014

Social isolation affects more than 200,000 older people in England. Baroness Greengross, Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre, welcomes the Big Lottery funding of £82 million tackling the issue.agingbetter-blog2-square

Earlier this year the International Longevity Centre –UK (ILC-UK) published a report which argued that policy makers should work to ensure that communities do more than cater for our basic needs. Our report argued that communities should be places of fun for all. We urged the local, voluntary and statutory sectors to work together to tackle the problems of isolation among older people.

Sally GreengrossWhist there has been some innovation at a local level, we are faced with a situation where isolation is sadly all too common.

One in ten over 85s report they have no friends. And a worrying one in four people aged 85 and over say they are at least somewhat dissatisfied with their life overall.

ILC-UK’s analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing found that almost four in ten of those aged 85 or older faced some kind of social exclusion. We found that almost four in ten of those aged 85 or older faced some two or more kinds of social exclusion. For those aged 60-64 years old, the figure was 12.4% experiencing two or more kinds of exclusion.

Our research on centenarians published in December 2011 found that quality of life among the oldest old decreases with age.

Tackling the challenges of isolation and exclusion are not simple. But they do require the sort of programmes and investment which is being announced today.

These new projects are extremely welcome as is the long term commitment from the Big Lottery Fund. I hope that evaluation of their long term impact will lead to service improvements, innovation and also policy change. Most importantly, these projects must play a major role in tacking isolation at the local level.

Ageing Better is funding 15 projects across England to tackle social isolation among older people.

Find out more about the projects being funded today

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