There are an estimated one million, one hundred thousand people aged 65 and over who are chronically lonely. They are difficult to find. Our new practical guide (The Missing Million: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Talking About Loneliness) provides guidance on how to find the loneliest in our communities.
The Missing Million: In Search of the Loneliest in Our Communities report, published by the Campaign to End Loneliness in June 2016, provided a comprehensive overview of the existing methods being used to identify and engage with people experiencing loneliness. Drawing on this evidence, the purpose of the practical guide is to provide practical guidance for commissioners, service providers, front line workers and volunteers; helping you to identify older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness and to better understand and engage with these missing million lonely older people.
The practical guide has two main sections. The first section is on how to successfully identify loneliness. This section outlines some of the different data sources available and explores ways in which working with communities and in partnership with others can help you to identify loneliness. The second is on how to better understand and engage with older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing loneliness and it focuses primarily on providing recommendations on how best to engage in a dialogue about loneliness and also offers some examples of effective and innovative approaches to supporting older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness.
The key recommendations that are featured in the Guide are here:
Key to successfully identifying loneliness is:
- Using a variety of different data sources, including open data,data visualisation packages, and health informatics
- Working with local communities and tapping into existing knowledge and capacity
- Developing partnerships with a range of individuals, groups and agencies
To better understand and engage with older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing loneliness it is crucial to:
- Understand what loneliness is and why it occurs
- Facilitate a conversation about loneliness, using the skills and qualities of empathy, openness, warmth and respect, and help people to understand their own circumstances and plan their own solutions
- Provide support which is appropriate for the individual and encourage them to engage with external groups, resources and technology