Tackling social isolation
Research has shown that being lonely or isolated can affect people’s health and wellbeing. Being lonely presents as much as a risk to health as smoking or alcohol consumption and is more of a risk than obesity or lack of exercise.
Loneliness and social isolation can affect everyone but older people are particularly vulnerable after the loss of friends and family, reduced mobility or limited income. As the UK’s population rapidly ages, the issue of acute loneliness and social isolation is one of the biggest challenges facing our society – and it must be addressed, for the sake of both the individuals concerned and the wider community.
Health issues arising from loneliness and isolation add pressure on statutory health and social care services. By intervening in this issue, we can improve older people’s quality of life, while limiting dependence on more costly services.
Recent Age UK research indicates that there are 2.9 million people over 65 living in the UK who feel they haven’t got anyone to turn to for help and support. Age UK’s 'No one should have no one' campaign gives more information on this research.
There are a range of things that can help people who feel lonely or isolated including befriending services, lunch clubs and volunteer schemes.
The Peterborough Wellbeing Service
The Peterborough Wellbeing Service is run by Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services (PCVS). They are able to point people in the right direction for a range of services and supplies including:
- Short term support if someone is poorly
- Support after leaving hospital
- Replacement radiators, energy advice
- Handyperson support
- Support for people who have experienced a recent death of a loved one
- Support for people who have brain injuries and strokes
- Support for people with physical disabilities and their carers including access to sports facilities
- Support for people with poor hearing and/or eyesight
- Support for people with mental health issues
- Nutrition and exercise classes
- Volunteer opportunities
- Befriending and social interaction through community groups, sitting service
- Support for carers and their families
- Safety, security and access to your home
- Managing finances
- Cleaning and gardening
Some services are available free, but some services may be charged for. For more information call Jan on 01733 342683.
Other ways to find support
To find local support please visit the Peterborough Care Directory, on this site you will find information on local care providers and associated services, along with advice and information and links to other useful websites. Click on the Lifestyle, Education, Work and Volunteering link, this will offer you a range of services and links to:
- adult education
- community transport
- day opportunities
- drop in services
- employment support services
- lunch clubs
- bereavement support
- religious and cultural services
- support and community groups
It is important to look after our health and wellbeing and there are a wide range of contacts and online resources available with helpful information:
- AskSara - an independent website that carries advice on products and ideas that help people carry out activities in and around their homes, including health matters.
- NHS Choices - an online guide to care and support.
- Age UK Radio Peterborough - have a fortnightly lunchtime radio show which is dedicated to providing advice, news and information for people with disabilities, family members and carers.
- The Active Wellness programme offers free learning advice and short courses for people over the age of 19 who may be experiencing mild to moderate challenges such as stress, anxiety and/or depression