Today’s theme is Loneliness and Social Isolation.

Over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages – more than the population of London – are either always or often lonely. Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. If you know someone who is lonely or socially isolated, they may be vulnerable and open to forms of abuse such as scams and financial abuse.

As a result of the pandemic more of us may experience loneliness and social isolation due to the impact of social distancing measures and the reduction in face-to-face opportunities to socialise, connect with family, neighbours and friends, and to take part in physical activity and everyday cultural and faith experiences.

What does it feel like to be old and alone

One million of us are already suffering from acute loneliness, while two and a half million over 60s fear they could end up similarly isolated. The Channel 4 video below explains what it is like to be old and alone.

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Information, Support and Advice on Loneliness and Social Isolation

Information on loneliness and isolation along with links to organisations and groups who can provide support  is available on the ConnecttoSupport website and from the organisations below.

People of all ages can feel lonely or socially isolated at some point in our lives. For a lot of us, particularly  in later life, loneliness can define our lives and have a significant impact on our wellbeing. See Age UK for information and support available including their befriending service.

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Dementia Friends

A Dementia Friends Champion is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help. Visit the Dementia Friends website to find out more.

Dementia Friendly Communities

A dementia-friendly community is one in which people with dementia are empowered to have high aspirations and feel confident, knowing they can contribute and participate in everyday activities that are meaningful to them e.g. hobbies, leisure activities, shopping. Dementia friendly environments are spaces that have been specifically designed, equipped and furnished to enable easier access, comfort and security and in which it is easier to undertake usual daily activities. More information can be found on the Dementia RoadMap website and Hampshire County Council have produced a helpful checklist for businesses and organisation to enable them become dementia friendly.

Age Space

Hampshire has an ageing population. Developing dementia is unfortunately increasingly common, a product of living longer. The county has recognised this need, and there is great service provision to assist those living with dementia and their carers. Age Space has organised support by NHS in Hampshire and local charities. See NHS Services for people with Dementia and Local Charities supporting people with Dementia for more information about the services and support available.

Silverline

The Silver Line offer older people support with loneliness including a 24-hour helpline which is available 365 days a year and a befriending service to combat loneliness. Visit the Silver Line website.

Good Neighbours Network

Good Neighbours Network is a collection of over 120 local groups run by local people for local people all offering a helping hand to others in their community. The groups provide both practical help, with tasks and emotional help though befriending schemes and an expanding range of social activities, from film club to bike club. Many offer much needed transport to medical appointments or a hand with the shopping. We also have two Dementia cafes in the Network. All of the groups aim to reach out to isolated people and deliver what is needed in their community. See a list of groups in Hampshire on the Good Neighbours website.

Mind

Mind is a charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Mind has practical tips to help you manage feelings of loneliness, and information about other places you can go for support. Visit the Mind website.

The Samaritans

The Samaritans provide a free listening service, with no judgement, no pressure, and will help you work through what’s on your mind. If you need advice or specialist support for a specific issue they have a list of specialist organisations, including their contact details, which you may find helpful. Go to the Samaritans website to find out more about how they can help. You can call them free on 116 123.

Wavelength

Wavelength gives media technology to lonely people living in poverty. For people who are lonely, a simple radio or television can feel like a lifeline. See the Wavelength website here to find out how you can apply for help.