Results for 'social networks'
This paper focuses on the different types and configurations of formal and informal support in place, alongside telecare, to assist frail older people, and on how having telecare in place affected, and was influenced by, these arrangements. Based on detailed research with older telecare users and people involved in their care, the paper defines and contrasts three ‘ideal types’ identified as: ‘complex’; ‘family- based’; and ‘privatised support’ caring networks. It considers how telecare interacted with each type of caring network and explores differences in the relevance and applicability of each to frail older people in the AKTIVE study. Focusing on older people living at home with different types of frailty, the AKTIVE project aimed both to enhance understanding of how they (and those supporting them) accessed, engaged with and used the telecare equipment supplied to them, and to explore the consequences for them of doing so. In this paper particular reference is made to differences between older people using telecare who lived alone or with others; and between those who had memory problems or were susceptible to falls. The paper shows how telecare enhanced all three types of network, in at least some examples in the study, although no network type was dependent, or solely reliant, upon it. This highlights that telecare is not a panacea, a substitute for human care or an adequate solution in and of itself.
This paper focuses on the social relationships in the everyday lives of participants in the AKTIVE study and considers how telecare fits into these. Focusing on older people living at home with different types of frailty, the AKTIVE project aimed both to enhance understanding of how they (and those supporting them) accessed, engaged with and used the telecare equipment supplied to them, and to explore the consequences for them of doing so. This paper examines types of relationships and how these change, with a focus on being cared for and on the loneliness which many participants experienced. After discussing these aspects, the paper explores how telecare fitted into these relationships, assesses the extent to which social relations support or hinder telecare use, and discusses research participants’ experiences of this. The paper addresses three of the AKTIVE project’s research questions, adding to knowledge of: the characteristics of older people who use telecare and the contexts in which they do so; how telecare is used and affects those involved; and barriers to the adoption of telecare. In examining older people’s social relationships and how telecare fits into and affects these, the paper builds on sociological research on the use of technology, much of which has focused on information and communication technologies (ICTs). The paper explores new data collected through Everyday Life Analysis (ELA), a methodology using ethnographic observations and interviews with older people over a period of six to nine months. Research participants were supported to create maps of their social relations to help identify the people who supported them, who were also interviewed or observed wherever possible.
SOCIAL CARE INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE, CONTACT THE ELDERLY
This At a glance briefing explains the importance of tackling social isolation and loneliness, particularly among older people. It highlights the adverse effects of feeling isolated and describes a number of services that have been found to help reduce the problem. It draws on research evidence from SCIE's 'Research briefing 39: preventing loneliness and isolation: interventions and outcomes'. It also includes case study examples of two services - a befriending scheme and social group - that help to help mitigate loneliness and isolation and improve the wellbeing of older people.
HATAMIAN Areenay, PEARMAIN Daniel, GOLDEN Sarah
The Active at 60 Community Agents programme was a Department for Work and Pensions fund to encourage community groups and their volunteers to help people approaching and post retirement (particularly those at risk of social isolation and loneliness in later life) to stay or become active and positively engaged with society. It was launched in March 2011 and ran until December 2011. This evaluation of the programme included surveys and interviews with local funders, group leaders, community agents (volunteers whose role aimed to empower and support older people to become and/or stay active) and older people. The report describes the background and methodology of the study and presents the findings, covering the role of Community Agents, reaching and engaging older people, what groups did with the funding, what difference the programme made to older people who took part and wider benefits, the legacy of the programme, and the role of local funders and programme management. It also discusses how far the programme achieved its aims and sets out key lessons learned.
DAVIDSON Susan, ROSSALL Phil
A summary of available evidence from research on loneliness in the community in later life. Loneliness can be understood as an individual’s personal, subjective sense of lacking desired affection, closeness, and social interaction with others. Over 1 million older people say they are always or often feel lonely and nearly half of them say that television or pets are their main form of company. The report reviews the literature on measuring and quantifying loneliness and on factors associated with loneliness in later life, including age, ethnicity and language, sex, living arrangements and marital status, geography, housing, health, income, informal care and sexual orientation. The review considers the evidence on the impact of loneliness on older people and the most common social interaction interventions for older people. These include: specialised groups targeting older people, community engagement, befriending, gatekeeping, and the internet. The review includes an appendix on social support and its sources.
Explores how the care sector can take advantage of the power and potential of digital technology and social networks to develop new models of support for older people. The effective use of digital technologies – based around the internet, computers, mobile phones, social networks, telecare and telehealth – are critical in enabling people to live more independent and fulfilling lives, irrespective of their health and care needs. This is especially true as the demand for care services increases. The paper, using a range of good practice examples, highlights the role of digital technology in alleviating social isolation, enabling access to information and knowledge and in supporting the lives and work of many carers around the UK. The paper calls for a better shared understanding of innovations in this sector, a more co-ordinated and coherent approach to enable carers and care seekers to easily access online information and support, greater shared learning, collaboration and partnerships, and the promotion of events that showcase digital technology innovations in care which could be adopted by local authorities, the NHS and housing providers, as well as being purchased by people funding their own support needs.
COLLINS Angela B., WRIGLEY Julie
This report evaluates the overall impact of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme. The main principles of the Neighbourhood approaches to loneliness programme are that community activities can contribute to the well-being of people at risk of, or experiencing, loneliness; that such people can play a central role in these activities; and that this involvement can also enhance community well-being. This report is based on consultation with community researchers, professional stakeholders, programme staff and community members. The report highlights that good practice requires skilled staff who are able to communicate effectively and provide pastoral support to volunteers; reveals changes in community researchers resulting from their involvement in the programme; demonstrates where there has been community impact; and shares wider lessons which can be learnt from taking a neighbourhood approach.
KEMPTON James, TOMLIN Sam
Loneliness occurs at all stages of life but little attention has been paid to its incidence and impact in the oldest old (85+), the fourth generation. This report begins by exploring: loneliness and why it matters; the incidence of loneliness in older people; and what is known about loneliness in the oldest old (85+). It then looks six contextual criteria that should be considered when initiating or commissioning interventions to tackle loneliness: rural and urban living; gender; health; living alone; community resilience; intergenerational interaction and ageism. Using case study analysis of projects that are tackling loneliness effectively, the report then explores practical steps that can be taken to reduce levels of loneliness among the oldest old. The case studies include one-to-one interventions, group services and building social networks; and encouraging wider community engagement. The case studies also illustrate the continued willingness of individuals of all ages to get involved in their local community. Whereas people might once have volunteered informally to help people they knew, ‘permission’ to initiate contact, through formalised and structured opportunities, is important. This is an important pointer as to how our modern society can organise itself to help address loneliness.
HEMINGWAY Ann, JACK Eleanor
A UK charity established a network of 70 friendship clubs in the south of England, facilitated by volunteers, with the aim of promoting well-being for older people. The charity provides venues and transport for participants to meet and enjoy activities locally every week for 2 hours. This article reports on a 3 year research project exploring the impacts of the intervention, using qualitative research methods and including participant observation and individual and focus group interviews. The study was based on 10 of the friendship clubs and collected information from 82 members and 18 volunteers. The article describes the intervention and the study methodology. It presents the results, with illustrative quotations from participants, covering views on the risk of becoming isolated, feeling isolated, and friendship and support. It identifies additional factors that can predispose an individual to become socially isolated, including environment and safety fears, fear of falling, and loss of confidence, and notes that even when living with their families older people can still feel socially isolated. It reports that club members and volunteers viewed themselves as assets for each other, offering support, advice and friendship, and that, overall, the perceived benefits for attendees of attending the friendship clubs fell into 3 key areas: improved well-being, social relations, and mental and physical health.