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Tackling loneliness: briefing

Author(s)

WHAT WORKS CENTRE FOR WELLBEING

Publisher(s):

What Works Centre for Wellbeing

Publication year:

2018

Based on a systematic review of evidence reviews, this briefing summarises the evidence on what works in alleviating loneliness in people aged 55 years and older. A total of 364 reviews were identified and 28 were included in the final review. The review found there is a need for greater clarity on the concept of loneliness and how it differs from social isolation, for both researchers and practitioners. Other key findings show that there is no one-size fits-all approach to alleviating loneliness in older population groups and that tailored approaches are more likely to reduce loneliness. A number of different approaches are being used to alleviate loneliness in older adults. These include: leisure activities; therapies; social and community interventions; educational approaches; befriending; and system-wide activities, such as changing the cultures of care. There was no evidence of approaches doing any harm, however there was a suggestion that some technology-based approaches are not suitable for everyone and could reinforce a sense of social isolation. Suggestions are made on how to improve the evidence-based on interventions for loneliness. The briefing also provides a case study of Community Webs, a project to reduce loneliness and social isolation of patients presenting to GP practices by mobilising community assets. (Edited publisher abstract)


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