Blog Post 14 November 2017
Brum’s drive to defeat loneliness in elderly – now bid for cash
By 2020, almost 57,000 people aged 65 plus will be living alone in Birmingham – 37 per cent of the age group.
This rises to almost 81,000 – almost 53 per cent of the age group – when those with a limiting long-term illness are included.
In response to the Ageing Better initiative, Birmingham is getting big on tackling isolation over the next few years.
Care Choices reported online that the city faces a “loneliness epidemic” with Stephen Raybould, Ageing Better in Birmingham Programme Director, saying: “People should be happy in older age and be enjoying their retirement. But as these latest figures show too many people in our society are facing this period living in isolation.
“The fact that nine in 10 people in the city fear they will be lonely in older age is a concerning statistic. Following a successful launch, Ageing Better in Birmingham is now using a grass-roots approach designed to empower and connect individuals. We are committed to helping to create sustainable change in communities.”
As part of the initiative, people of all ages are being encouraged to apply for up to £2,000 through the Ageing Better Fund to start activities, initiatives and events for the collective benefit of isolated older people across the city. The aim is to increase social interaction, help people to make new friends, increase positive activity and boost feelings of wellbeing.
To help things on the way the city won Big Lottery funding of £6m in September 2014. The Ageing Better Fund offers people of all ages the chance to apply for money in setting up activities for the collective benefit of older people across Birmingham.
Expenses of up to £2,000 are available. Applications to: https://www.ageingbetterinbirmingham.co.uk/get-involved/main-hubs
One of the biggest impacts of residential caring has been to bring social engagement to lonely people. As the role of care homes modernise, more are engaging services with the wider community . . . clinics, health workshops, drop-in sessions, education and even nursery facilities can be found among them.
Is this opportunity another way of diversifying?
Debbie Le Quesne - CEO West Midlands Care Association