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The missing million: a practical guide to identifying and talking about loneliness

CAMPAIGN TO END LONELINESS
2016

A practical guide providing advice to help commissioners, service providers, frontline staff and volunteers to better identify and engage with older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing loneliness. The guide draws on evidence from an earlier Campaign to End Loneliness Report 'The missing million: in search of the loneliest in our communities'. The first section outlines a range of data sources to help identify loneliness, including heat maps, the Exeter data system of patients registered with GPs, and a Community Insight tool developed by the Housing Associations Charitable Trust. It also explores how working with local communities and developing partnerships with individuals, groups and other agencies can help to help identify loneliness. Examples show how existing social networks in communities also have an important role to play in providing support and reducing loneliness. The second section provides recommendations on how best to engage with older people, highlighting the importance of understanding what loneliness is, having the right skills to talk to older people about loneliness, and providing appropriate support for the individual. Examples of effective and innovative approaches to supporting older people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, loneliness, are also included. These include social prescribing, Talk for Health, and using social media and technology.

The missing million: in search of the loneliest in our communities

CAMPAIGN TO END LONELINESS
2016

A guide to help commissioners and service providers to develop ways of identifying older people experiencing loneliness or who are at risk of being lonely. Section one identifies methods of identifying older people who may be at risk of loneliness. These include top down approaches which use available data and data mapping to identifying geographical areas likely to contain more people at risk; and bottom up approaches, which draw on the local knowledge and capacity of communities to identify and engage with older people experiencing loneliness in their area. Section two illustrates how these different methods can be used and provides case studies to show how they have been used successfully by other organisations. Section three provides advice to help staff and volunteers to speak to people at risk of loneliness in a way that can bring about positive change. It shows the importance of using empathy, openness and respect when holding conversations and also taking a problem-solving approach to help people identify and plan their own solutions. Each section includes summary learning points and provides advice to help providers and commissioners to help change their ways of working. The report makes 10 key recommendations for service providers and commissioners.

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