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Results 31 - 40 of 785

Enabling middle‐aged and older adults accessing community services to reduce social isolation: Community Connectors

GIEBEL Clarissa, et al

A large number of older adults (65+ years) live on their own, and can experience high levels of loneliness. However, accessing activities to engage with their community can be difficult either due to their age and associated comorbidities, such as frailty, or due to financial reasons, for lacking the funds to access transport to activities. The aim of this study was to evaluate an existing service in the North West of England, Community Connectors, which enables people aged 18 and above to access social activities within their community in order to reduce loneliness and social isolation. This study only included middle‐aged and older adults. A total of 13 semi‐structured interviews were performed after people had taken part in the 14‐week Community Connectors programme. Data were coded by two research team members by using thematic analysis. Members of the public were involved in the design of this study, and in the dissemination. Between June 2017 to September 2018, 234 older adults and 53 middle‐aged adults were referred to Community Connectors. Four themes emerged from the interviews: falling out of society; easy self‐referral; structured supportive services; and reconnecting with community. Services often depend on individuals making the first step to access, however, without easy or facilitated access people can becoming isolated. Participants reported on how Community Connectors provided easy and open access that enabled better response to individual needs. The structured support provided individuals with confidence in engaging with community activities and enhanced individuals’ social networks. Community Connectors enables middle‐aged and older adults to engage with social activities in their community, and thus helps participants to feel less lonely and more socially connected. Future work needs to quantitatively measure the impacts of the service on loneliness, depression, and social connectedness in order to fully understand their impact.

Psychosocial outcomes of dyadic arts interventions for people with a dementia and their informal caregivers: A systematic review

BOURNE Philippa, CAMIC Paul M., CRUTCH Sebastian J.

Dementia is a neurodegenerative syndrome that can lead to profound psychological and social challenges for people with dementia and their informal caregivers. Previous research has found positive effects of arts‐based interventions for people with dementia and caregivers that have been dyadic in nature and the present article sought to review these findings. A systematic literature review was conducted to investigate psychosocial outcomes of dyadic arts interventions. PsychINFO, Medline, Web of Science and ASSIA databases (from journal inception to March 2020) were searched as well as Google Scholar and reference lists of relevant studies were searched. Interventions were delivered to people with dementia and their caregivers in community‐based settings across five countries. Thirteen peer‐reviewed journal articles met the criteria for inclusion in this review, six focusing on performing arts and seven on visual arts. The findings suggested that choral singing and visual arts interventions may have positive effects on psychosocial outcomes for both people with dementia and their informal caregivers. Improved well‐being, quality of life, mood, enhanced identity and decreased social isolation were found in some studies. Importantly, across all studies, participants reported enjoying arts activities. This is the first review to systematically assess dyadic arts activities in a dementia context. These activities offer enjoyable and engaging experiences for many person with dementia and caregivers and were generally found to have positive results but mostly small sample size, lack of control groups and different outcome measures made comparisons challenging. Future research recommendations include further theoretical development, identifying key intervention components, and specifying relevant and measurable theoretically informed outcomes within dyadic interventions for this population.

Social prescribing for people with complex needs: a realist evaluation

WOOD Emily, et al

Background: Social Prescribing is increasingly popular, and several evaluations have shown positive results. However, Social Prescribing is an umbrella term that covers many different interventions. This study aimed to test, develop and refine a programme theory explaining the underlying mechanisms operating in Social Prescribing to better enhance its effectiveness by allowing it to be targeted to those who will benefit most, when they will benefit most. Methods: This study conducted a realist evaluation of a large Social Prescribing organisation in the North of England. Thirty-five interviews were conducted with stakeholders (clients attending Social Prescribing, Social Prescribing staff and general practice staff). Through an iterative process of analysis, a series of context-mechanism-outcome configurations were developed, refined and retested at a workshop of 15 stakeholders. The initial programme theory was refined, retested and ‘applied’ to wider theory. Results: Social Prescribing in this organisation was found to be only superficially similar to collaborative care. A complex web of contexts, mechanisms and outcomes for its clients are described. Key elements influencing outcomes described by stakeholders included social isolation and wider determinants of health; poor interagency communication for people with multiple needs. Successful Social Prescribing requires a non-stigmatising environment and person-centred care, and shares many features described by the asset-based theory of Salutogenesis. Conclusions: The Social Prescribing model studied is holistic and person-centred and as such enables those with a weak sense of coherence to strengthen this, access resistance resources, and move in a health promoting or salutogenic direction.

Community-enhanced social prescribing: integrating community in policy and practice

MORRIS David, et al

The NHS Plan is introducing social prescribing link workers into GP surgeries in England. The link workers connect people to non-health resources in the community and voluntary sector, with the aim of meeting individual needs beyond the capacity of the NHS. Social prescribing models focus on enhancing individual wellbeing, guided by the policy of universal personalised care. However, they largely neglect the capacity of communities to meet individual need, particularly in the wake of a decade of austerity. This paper proposes a model of community enhanced social prescribing (CESP) which has the potential to improve both individual and community wellbeing. CESP combines two evidence-informed models – Connected Communities and Connecting People – to address both community capacity and individual need. CESP requires a literacy of community which recognises the importance of communities to individuals and the importance of engaging with, and investing in, communities. When fully implemented the theory of change for CESP is hypothesised to improve both individual and community wellbeing.

Community garden initiatives addressing health and well-being outcomes: a systematic review of infodemiology aspects, outcomes, and target populations

GREGIS Anna, et al

Previous research has suggested that activities such as community gardens could offer a wide range of health benefits. The aim of the article is to systematically review the available literature to analyse the magnitude of the phenomenon, the geographical distribution, and the main characteristics in terms of health outcomes and target populations. The search addresses the question whether the activity in community gardens improves health and well-being outcomes of individuals. From the total amount of 7226, 84 selected articles showed that:(1) up to 50% are published by U.S. universities or institutions; (2) up to 44% of the studies considered “community gardens” as the main activity of the research focus; (3) one-third of the studies included adults; (4) almost 25% of the studies used “general health” as the main outcome when investigating the benefits of community gardens; (5) the percentage of studies that achieved their outcomes was heterogeneous among the different health dimensions. In conclusion, while a certain degree of heterogeneity in the used definition and outcome still exist, community gardens may be a viable strategy for well-being promotion in terms of psychological, social, and physical health and may be considered as an innovative urban strategy to promote urban public health.

Time- and place-dependent experiences of loneliness in assisted living facilities


The purpose of the study is to explore feelings of loneliness among residents in assisted living facilities in terms of how loneliness is experienced and articulated, and what specific factors are related to the experiences. The study used a mixed-method approach. We individually interviewed 13 residents twice over six months. We conducted two focus group interviews and noted our observations each time we met the respondents. Data analysis leaned on abductive reasoning. The respondents described loneliness in versatile, rich ways. It proved to be time and place dependent. It was dependent on the time of day, days of the week and seasons. Lonely time was meaningless and filled with a feeling of waiting. Loneliness was also intertwined with place. None of the respondents called their apartment home; instead they called it a hospital, even a prison. They had to spend long periods of time in their apartments against their will, and their desire to interact with other residents was not met. The respondents felt invisible. Residents’ experiences of loneliness in assisted living facilities are unique and distinctive. Time- and place-dependent experiences of loneliness act as important signals for reflection on how care practices in these facilities could be more satisfying. Loneliness should therefore be a key topic and the target of prevention and interventions.

A connected recovery: findings of the APPG on loneliness inquiry


Findings of an inquiry into loneliness, which explored problems and identified solutions within four crucial policy areas, including: translating national policy into local action through local authorities; community infrastructure (including housing, transport and public spaces); how to adequately fund the voluntary and community sector upon which social prescribing depends; designing and implementing ways to test the implications of government policies on loneliness. The inquiry found that there are too many barriers preventing people from connecting – such as a lack of safe, welcoming and accessible green spaces, parks and gardens, public toilets, playing areas, local bus services, and ramps for people with disabilities. Too many people face barriers to digital connection as a result of lack of access to mobile technology and the internet, as well as a lack of digital skills and confidence. Poorly designed or unsuitable housing and neighbourhoods can make it hard for people to meet each other, maintain social connections and develop a sense of belonging. Some communities and groups were highlighted as facing particular disadvantage in relation to transport and mobility. The report makes the case for a “connected recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising the need for long-term work to rebuild social connections following periods of isolation and the importance of connection to resilience to future shocks. To achieve this, the APPG sets out a roadmap, calling on the government to adopt 15 recommendations, designed to: tackle loneliness through national leadership; translate national policy into local action; invest in the community and social infrastructure needed to connect, particularly in areas with higher levels of deprivation; loneliness proof all new transport and housing developments, and close the digital divide by increasing digital skills and confidence.

Qualitative study of loneliness in a senior housing community: the importance of wisdom and other coping strategies

PAREDES Alejandra Morlett, et al

Objective: Older adults are at a high risk for loneliness, which impacts their health, well-being, and longevity. While related to social isolation, loneliness is a distinct, internally experienced, distressing feeling. The present qualitative study sought to identify characteristics of loneliness in older adults living independently within a senior housing community, which is typically designed to reduce social isolation. Method: Semi-structured qualitative interviews regarding the experience of loneliness, risk factors, and ways to combat it were conducted with 30 older adults, ages 65–92 years. The interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and coded using a grounded theory analytic approach based on coding, consensus, co-occurrence, and comparison. Results: Three main themes with multiple subthemes are described: (A) Risk and Protective factors for loneliness: age-associated losses, lack of social skills or abilities, and protective personality traits; (B) Experience of loneliness: Sadness and lack of meaning as well as Lack of motivation; and (C) Coping strategies to prevent or overcome loneliness: acceptance of aging, compassion, seeking companionship, and environment enables socialization. Discussion: Despite living within a communal setting designed to reduce social isolation, many older adults described feeling lonely in stark negative terms, attributing it to aging-associated losses or lack of social skills and abilities. However, interviewees also reported positive personal qualities and actions to prevent or cope with loneliness, several of which mirrored specific components of wisdom. The results support the reported inverse relationship between loneliness and wisdom and suggest a potential role for wisdom-enhancing interventions to reduce and prevent loneliness in older populations.

Delivering prevention in an ageing world: using technology effectively: consultation paper


As part of the Delivering prevention in an ageing world programme, this consultation paper identifies the key areas where technology can play a crucial role in helping push forward the prevention agenda. These include: 1. Improving population health through the use of big data to develop targeted preventative health strategies and improve health outcomes; 2. Supporting healthcare delivery by providing electronic health record systems and a wide range of online health services to deliver better and more efficient preventative advice and care throughout our lives; 3. Connecting individuals to preventative healthcare by overcoming distance barriers and enabling them to live independently for longer; 4. Empowering individuals to take control of their health, and improve their health and wellbeing by supporting their health literacy. The paper also collates examples of good practice, including learnings from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding befriending: a study of befriending schemes for older people


Befriending is a service for the purposes of companionship, typically based on regular one-to-one contact between a volunteer and an individual with limited social connections. During the Covid-19 pandemic this form of support has become more widespread, so it is timely to consider how befriending works, and what we can learn from experienced providers. This report shares the insights and lessons from thirteen established befriending schemes for older people, run by organisations funded by charities for which the Mercers’ Company is trustee. The primary goal of befriending is to foster a positive, open-ended relationship between two individuals. There are a number of important factors necessary for establishing and sustaining positive, lasting relationships: volunteer effort and emotional investment; matching and introduction; removing barriers; limiting eligibility – schemes generally exclude people whose support needs may create a barrier to long-term relationships, for example those with moderate to severe dementia and/or mental health issues; setting boundaries, such as limits on the practical support volunteers can offer, on cash handling, and on the extent of contact, are put in place to ensure that relationships remain sustainable. Befriending relationships have value in their own right, and are the primary outcome of befriending services. However, these relationships provide only limited social contact, and are unlikely to fully satisfy an individual’s need for connection. Befriending does have other important benefits: fostering a meaningful relationship; awakening interests – volunteers can help service users reconnect with old interests or develop new ones to sustain them between befriending visits; and acting as an early warning system – befriending volunteers are often able to act as “canaries in the coalmine”, spotting emerging needs and flagging these to schemes for early action.

Results 31 - 40 of 785


Prevention in social care

Prevention in social care What it means, the policy context, role for commissioners and practitioners and the evidence base.

H4All wellbeing service

H4All wellbeing service Practice example about how H4All Wellbeing Service is using the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) tool

Moving Memory

Moving Memory Practice example about how the Moving Memory Dance Theatre Company is challenging perceived notions of age and ageing.

Chatty Cafe Scheme

Chatty Cafe Scheme Practice example about how the Chatty Cafe Scheme is helping to tackle loneliness by bringing people of all ages together

Oomph! Wellness

Oomph! Wellness Practice example about how Oomph! Wellness is supporting staff to get older adults active and combat growing levels of social isolation

LAUGH research project

LAUGH research project Practice example about a research project to develop highly personalised, playful objects for people with advanced dementia


KOMP Practice example about how KOMP, designed by No Isolation is helping older people stay connected with their families
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