Loneliness and isolation
In JSNA, loneliness is measured by the proportion of adult social care users who do not have as much social contact as they would like. In Rochdale borough in 2016/17 it was 49.1 per cent, above the England average of 45.4 per cent.
The extent of loneliness in older people
Loneliness is an issue in all population groups and ages but especially in older people because of loss of friends, family, mobility or income. Research by Victor et al (2003) found that 17 per cent of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11 per cent are in contact less than once a month.
The impact of loneliness on health and wellbeing
Loneliness is very harmful to health. It has been linked to the onset of dementia (Holwerda et al, 2012) and is associated with depression. It increases as people become less able to undertake routine activities. People who are lonely or isolated are more likely to be admitted to residential or nursing care (Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2011).
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the fall in ratings of personal well-being amongst the oldest age groups might result from a range of personal circumstances such as poor health, living alone and feelings of loneliness.
Statistics on loneliness
- NHS Digital - Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) - the measure of loneliness is the proportion of adult social care users who have as much social contact as they would like. This is part of the adult social care outcomes framework which can be found on the NHS Digital site.
- Office for National Statistics (ONS) - Characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness - analysis of characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness in England using the Community Life Survey, 2016 to 2017.
Guidance and information on loneliness and isolation
- Age UK - Loneliness information and advice - the Age UK website contains information and advice about loneliness including loneliness research and practice articles, evidence reviews and neighbourhood level loneliness risk maps based on 2011 census data.
- Loneliness and isolation - Guidance for local authorities and commissioners - this resource provides adult social care, clinical commissioning groups and public health teams with guidance on planning how to address the loneliness experienced by older people in their local populations.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) - Older people: independence and mental wellbeing guidance - this guideline covers interventions to maintain and improve the mental wellbeing and independence of people aged 65 or older and how to identify those most at risk of a decline.