Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt today announced that local authorities will begin to identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness to allow them to tackle the growing problem of social isolation and its harmful effects.
“Loneliness amongst older people has been long overlooked, therefore we are delighted that local authorities will for the first time be mapping loneliness amongst older people in their areas. It’s only after knowing where people are lonely that we can tackle it.
“Loneliness not only has a hugely negative impact on people’s general well-being, but also on their health. WRVS comes into contact with older people day in day out whose main company is the TV, and without our volunteers may not see another person from day to day.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. Simple and cost effective solutions such as befriending, can help tackle loneliness, help older people to stay connected to their communities and prevent unnecessary hospital stays.
“Mapping loneliness is just the start. We would urge local authorities to signpost older people and their families to WRVS and other organisations to help solve the problem of loneliness and also to commission these kind of cost effective services.”
David McCullough, WRVS Chief Executive