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Author: Friends of the Elderly
Published on 17 June 2011 10:30 AM

Over one million older people in the UK live isolated and lonely lives. A million more feel trapped in their own homes and one in five older people see other people less than once a week.

Between 20th and 26th June, UK charity Friends of the Elderly is holding ‘Isolation Week’, a social experiment that will see ten members of the public experience social isolation as if they were themselves an isolated older person – by being confined to their own homes for a whole week without any human contact and with only the TV for company. The participants will also use special equipment such as gloves and vision-impairing glasses to help them experience the effects of physical ageing.

Each day, the participants will record their feelings via a video diary and one-way Twitter accounts that will be able to be viewed here. Their experiences will then be analysed by social researchers specialising in the issues facing older people with the findings used to raise awareness of the debilitating effects of social isolation and to encourage communities to be more proactive with the older people around them.

Key Facts about Isolation Week

  • Isolation Week will take place w/c June 20th 2011.
  • Paticipants will not be allowed to leave their homes, speak to anyone face to face or on the phone or communicate in a two way conversation via the internet including emailing and social networks from 9:00am Monday 20th June until 12:00am Monday 27th June
  • Participants will be allowed access to TV, radio and the internet but will not be allowed to communicate in a two way conversation via these mediums
  • Participants will upload daily video diaries and Tweet via one way text messages only about their experience of the project during Isolation Week
  • During Isolation Week participants will try out different conditions that simulate the physical effects of aging such as glasses designed to temporarily impair eyesight and gloves that mimic restricted movement

Key Facts about Isolation

  • Over one million older people in the UK live isolated and lonely lives. A million more feel trapped in their own homes and one in five older people see other people less than once a week.
  • Isolation can be devastating and may become a serious public health issue
  • Possible effects of isolation include loneliness, depression, a reduced likelihood of accessing support and services
  • Isolation can take several forms: from living alone in rural isolation to ‘emotional’ isolation, having no-one to interact with or confide in
  • A personalized approach to care can help end loneliness and isolation
  • Friends of the Elderly runs a range of services designed to combat isolation and improve the well-being of older people, including befriending, support at home, day clubs and residential care

Find out more at opens link in new window www.isolationweek.com

For more information: Call Age NI Advice: 0808 808 7575