In the United Kingdom, there are an estimated one million, one hundred thousand people over the age of 65 who are chronically lonely. We are in desperate need to identify these missing million lonely older people.
Members of the Campaign’s Learning Network, alongside many other interested parties, have expressed strong interest in further guidance and ideas on how to address the challenge of identifying loneliness. In response, we have launched the Missing Million report.
The first section, Identifying Loneliness, describes different ways of identifying older people experiencing loneliness, along with some ideas for collaboration and innovation. We look at what data is available to help locate older people experiencing loneliness and to identify geographical areas that are likely to contain older people at risk of becoming lonely?
The second section, Applying the methods, explains how the methods described in the first section have been put into practice as foundation services, and illustrates how different methods can be complementary and combined. It also gives examples of identifying and engaging older people from groups which have a relatively high risk of experiencing loneliness.
The third section of the paper, Talking about loneliness, aims to help front line staff and volunteers prepare for and engage in constructive dialogue with older people experiencing loneliness in ways that can bring about positive change. It addresses the question of how to speak with an older person experiencing loneliness or who is at risk of becoming lonely.