Friday, July 18, 2014

#LONELINESS - Reported that 18- to 24-year-olds report the most loneliness.

Perhaps surprisingly, according to research by the insurance company Aviva 18- to 24-year-olds report the most loneliness. This may be explained by the disruption of social ties as they finish school, but also because work environments offer less meaningful social interactions for young workers.
The first step in responding effectively to loneliness is to understand what it is. Loneliness is where the quantity or quality of our relationships doesn't match our expectations. This definition indicates the subjective nature of loneliness, but also reflects the importance of social relationships to individual wellbeing.
Loneliness tends to be associated with older age, especially when people retire (social loneliness), lose a loved one (emotional loneliness), or can no longer access transport. Public managers in care services are familiar with the more acute aspects of loneliness, especially in later age where loneliness correlates with negative health outcomes.
The link between subjective wellbeing and health is now established, although we still need more co-ordinated action to respond to it effectively. The Campaign to End Loneliness is a network of organisations and and individuals, launched in 2011 by five partner organisations including Age UK Oxfordshire, Independent Age and Manchester city council, to create conditions that reduce loneliness in later life. It has published guidance for local authorities and health and wellbeing boards, explaining why loneliness is a problem, and what can be done about it. Many of the campaign's examples focus on prevention, and include interventions such asAge-friendly Manchester and various befriending services.
However we shouldn't view loneliness only in terms of negative health outcomes. Local authorities and other public services should ensure existing services reach those more at risk of loneliness, and develop services that directly tackle loneliness, ranging from bereavement support to transport services.