For older people one of the main issues is often loneliness, with 3.6 million living alone in the UK, of which 2 million are aged 75 and over. Age UK (2015) found that over 1 million older people stated that they ‘always or often feel lonely’, with nearly half of over 65s reporting that the television, or pets were their main source of company. Successive studies have found that this is due to a number of inter-connected factors, such as being widowed, poor health, limited mobility and community networks. Equally, loneliness itself has been found to have a detrimental effect on health and well-being, such as raised blood pressure and increased feelings of depression, anxiety and vulnerability.
In order to reduce isolation and loneliness the Ageing Better programme of the National Lottery has sought to provide projects and interventions at various levels to enable people aged over 50 to be less isolated and lonely. This has included being more actively involved in their communities and engaged in the design and delivery of services that improve their social connections. One of the Ageing Better projects funded in Lincolnshire and led by Community Lincs is the TED (Talk, Eat and Drink) project in East Lindsey, which seeks to reduce isolation and create connections in the community through a variety of projects. These include initiatives such as advocacy and advice, befriending and developing friendship groups, digital skills and advice, the establishment of age friendly businesses, older men and health and well-being activities. The emphasis being on providing services that place older people at the heart of the decision making and involvement in what is provided.
The Lincoln International Business School is involved in a 2 year evaluation of the TED project from 2019-21. The research includes quantitative analysis of the project data and its outcomes to feedback into project development. This is complemented by focus groups with participants to understand more about the lived experiences of older people in East Lindsey and the impact of the project in daily lives.
Contact: Dr Jennifer Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org