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Ageing in coastal and rural communities

Age UK and Public Health England have been working together to explore the factors underlying health inequalities for older men, older people from ethnic minorities and older LGBTQ+ people in coastal and rural communities.

Our research included interviews with older people from these communities and community workers who understand and work with these communities.

Identifying gaps

In 2019, Public Health England published a review of Health Inequalities for Older Populations in Rural and Coastal Areas. This identified a number of important drivers of health inequalities for older people living in rural and coastal areas including some possible means to address these.

The research also identified gaps in evidence or indication of unmet need for specific groups:

  • Older men
  • Older LGBTQ+ people
  • Older people from ethnic minority groups

Age UK's work builds on this and also draws on the Placed Based Approaches for Reducing Health Inequalities launched by Public Health England (PHE), The Association or Directors of Public Health (ADPH) and Local Government Association (LGA), and sets out areas for action in relation to this work.

While our research is designed to help those working in coastal and rural communities, there is likely to be relevance wider than this and it aims to help understand the issues affecting older people in these groups and to identify how place-based action can be taken to address the health inequalities that affect them.

Our research and subsequent report highlights a range of themes that are relevant to all the groups as well as identifying specific areas for the individual groups and areas for action.

Issues in need of action

The five issues which need action across all the groups:

  1. Loneliness and social isolation
  2. The digital divide
  3. A lack of support networks among people who move to rural and coastal communities
  4. Gaps in public transport provision
  5. Gaps in support for carers and people with dementia

Core approaches

We have also identified six core approaches which could help all groups but must be tailored to the needs of each group and the diversity within them.

  1. Gather data
  2. Work with the VCSE sector
  3. Support the development of peer-led services
  4. Flex to allow work across geographies and groups
  5. Involve people rather than consulting them
  6. Make access easy

Ageing in coastal and rural communities

Exploring the factors underlying health inequalities for older men, older people from ethnic minorities, and older LGBTQ+ people

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Last updated: Jun 17 2021

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