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Addressing loneliness in older people through a personalized support and community response program

McDaid, David ORCID: 0000-0003-0744-2664 and Park, A-La ORCID: 0000-0002-4704-4874 (2023) Addressing loneliness in older people through a personalized support and community response program. Journal of Aging and Social Policy. ISSN 0895-9420

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Identification Number: 10.1080/08959420.2023.2228161

Abstract

Loneliness is increasingly viewed from a public health perspective given its association with poor physical and mental health. This includes tackling loneliness as an element of policy to promote mental health and wellbeing recovery post Covid. Facilitating participation of older people in social activities is part of the cross-governmental strategy to address loneliness in England. Such interventions have more chance of being effective if they resonate with and sustain engagement with their intended target audience. This study explored experiences of a personalized support and community response service to loneliness in Worcestershire, England. It involved interviews with 41 participants, gaining insights on routes into the program, perceived impacts, suitability and appeal. Results indicate multiple entry pathways, reaching individuals who would otherwise never have initiated engagement. Many participants felt the program promoted their confidence and self-esteem, as well as reengagement in social activities. Volunteers were pivotal to positive experiences. The program did not have universal appeal; some would have preferred a befriending service, whilst others desired opportunities to engage in intergenerational activities. Early identification and better understanding of determinants of loneliness, as well as co-creation, flexibility in form, regular feedback and volunteer support would help strengthen program appeal.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/wasp20
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 14:33
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 21:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118069

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