The British Geriatrics Society welcomes yesterday’s joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announcing that charities and community groups will get £20 million of new funding to help people experiencing social isolation and loneliness.
Healthcare professionals now recognise loneliness as a ‘public health epidemic’ with evidence to suggest it is as bad for health outcomes as smoking 15 cigarettes a day[i]. Older people are one of the groups most at risk. In the UK, over 1 million older adults admit they feel lonely often or all the time[ii], a number set to increase given the changing demography. Continue reading
Dr Shibley Rahman is an academic physician interested mainly in dementia and frailty. He tweets at @dr_shibley
This was my first ever BGS conference, just down the road from me, at the Wellcome Collection, London. The day was spent discussing ‘Loneliness in older people and its impact on health’ chaired by Professor Tahir Masud (@TashMasud), President-Elect of the British Geriatrics Society.
In a recent paper by Utz and colleagues (2014), the following is offered:
“The term loneliness is often equated with social isolation or social participation. However, seminal work attempted to distinguish loneliness from these constructs by defining it as the cognitive or psychological appraisal of social relationships and activities. For example, loneliness has been conceptualized as the lack of “meaningful” social relationships or “incongruence” between actual and desired levels of social interaction.” Continue reading