Who Cares? Combatting Isolation

Who Cares? event

Comments from Lisburn Discussion Event:

  • People should stay in their homes as long as possible if appropriate. But that still doesn’t address isolation. Even people living in cities and in their own homes can be isolated. The social care system should address that issue.
  • Schemes like befriending services should definitely be involved in social care to combat isolation and to give people a lifeline to the outside world. These things make a difference.
  • Social contact is important for people to maintain health and feel connected to their communities. And social care should help to facilitate this where appropriate. It should help with isolation and exclusion. People need to feel human and be treated like one.
  • It is so hard to reach the truly most isolated and vulnerable, though everyone agrees they are the ones most in need and who should have the best service. Personal contact is often the only way to really reach these people, but that is extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive to do. It is true that older people write letters to themselves just so they can see the postman; this can’t be right and social care should go some way to alleviating this type of loneliness. And it’s not just rural people who are isolated; people living in cities can be just as alone.
  • Older people who live in the city can just be as lonely as rural older people – we need to reach out to others – we all need to be included.

Comments from the Omagh Discussion Event

  • There needs to be an emphasis on not just the physical health but the mental health of people. Looking after people and keeping their minds active with activities and social interaction.
  • The service should try to find and understand people who are isolated. Often people are isolated and forgotten about and left to stare at the four walls.
  • Having an appropriate all encompassing care package put in place is essential and could impact on other issues such as isolation and loneliness.
  • Isolation – Should the community, voluntary sector, befriending schemes provide this? – the table felt yes. Community/Voluntary sector are already providing this in their individual groups where activities were tailored towards individuals they had various events to combat isolation including nights in the social club, pub, and outings. This is all part of social care.
  • There should be someone who can call in to see/speak to vulnerable older people – eg. a courtesy call or letter once you turn 85 and live alone asking whether they would like a regular phone call to check they are ok
  • Company is a big component – social contact – sometimes the only thing people need is someone coming in and sitting down for a cup of tea with them
  • Social isolation is a big problem especially after bereavement
  • Mental health is not included in the vision – need to consider how mental health can impact on physical health – social isolation
  • Older people are lonely, often just want someone to talk to
  • Loneliness/social exclusion: Community input required from neighbours; family; befriending schemes etc
Age NI Advice Line:
0808 808 7575

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