One of the priorities of the Hampshire Association of Local Councils is around social isolation hence the reason they support the County Village Agent Scheme.
We have an aging population, no current ability to ramp up on our local government spending on care and a need to support communities being resilient and sustainable.
It is widely recognised that older people, often living in rural areas, have specific vulnerabilities owing to loss of friends and family, loss of mobility or loss of income.
20% of the 65+ population are estimated to be mildly lonely across Hampshire
8% - 10% of the 65+ population are estimated to be intensely lonely across Hampshire.
The impact of social isolation on an individual's health and well being has been shown to be significant. Both isolation and loneliness impair quality of life and well being.
We have invited Gail Allen to come and speak to us about this problem at our February Meeting of the Parish Council. All are welcome to attend.
Some pilot schemes are already running focused on proactively identifying and targeting these individuals who are currently most at risk from the impact of social isolation. The aim then is to support them in re-engaging with family and friends with whom they have lost touch and with their local communities or with the many communities of interest to be found on line.
Age Concern currently offers computer training in rural areas. It is a service involved by many over 50's who are able to benefit from their computer classes for a small donation of £4.50. Although from experience it is not the cost of the course but affording a computer and line rental.
We will watch the pilot schemes with interest and try to identify if loneliness in our parish is a problem.