This report provides an overview of social isolation and loneliness in the UK and highlights innovative uses of technology in addressing the issue. It considers the factors that contribute to the development of social isolation and loneliness, the people most at risk, the impact on an individual's health and wellbeing, and the impact on public services. It outlines three main approaches and interventions used to address social isolation and loneliness: enabling people to maintain existing relationships, facilitating the creation of new connections, and psychological approaches to change the perceptions of individuals that are suffering from loneliness. In particular, it highlights innovative uses of technology to show their potential to increase access to initiatives and deliver interventions in new ways. Local and international best practice case-studies are included. The final section looks at the challenges that exist when trying to finance interventions aiming to combat social isolation and loneliness, and introduces an outcome-based financing model, Social Impact Bonds, which has the potential to allow commissioners and delivery partners to deliver more innovative solutions.
Evaluation of the Tinder Foundation and NHS England Widening Digital Participation programme, which set out to improve the digital health skills of people in hard-to-reach communities in order to help them take charge of their own heath. It aimed to ensure that health inequalities resulting from digital exclusion do not become more pronounced. The programme involved: building a Digital Health Information network of local providers who provided face-to-face support to help people improve their skills; developing digital health information; supporting people to access health information online and learn how to complete digital medical transactions; and funding Innovation Pathfinder organisations to test innovative approaches to help people improve their digital health skills. This report evaluates the key figures and learning from the final year of the project and also provides a summary of the key findings across the three-year programme. It discusses the scale and impact of behaviour change on frontline services; priority audiences participating, including people with dementia and people with learning disabilities; and new models of care. The evaluation found that during the duration of the project 221,941 people were trained to use digital health resources. This has resulted in more people using the internet as their first port of call for information, and potential savings from reduced GP and A&E visits. The report estimates that the combined annual cost savings of reduced visits to GPs and A&E comes to approximately £6 millon against an NHS investment of £810,000 in year three.
FLATTERS Paul, JOHNSON Tom, O'SHEA Ruairi
Presents key information and data on the UK ageing population, including an analysis of current trends and the implications for the future. The report sets out the national picture, focusing on the demographic context, the state of income, pensions and retirement arrangements, and health issues. In addition, the report considers a range of aspects associated with old age, including: loneliness, dementia, older carers, volunteering, and digital inclusion. The report indicates that the population of the UK is set to increase significantly over the next decade, with much of this growth driven by an ageing population and sustained increases in the number of people over 65 years old. While the number of older people living in relative or absolute poverty has not increased since the start of the economic downturn, the minimum income standard for pensioners has risen and many of those on low incomes have trouble meeting everyday expenditure. The report suggests that higher dependency ratios will place huge demand on already strained public services, requiring greater support from the charitable sector. The impact of dementia will be a significant area of need in the future: even if incidence rates remain stable, the growth in the population of people over the age of 65 will see the number affected more than double from c.800,000 in 2012 to 2.2m in 2051. However, the report concludes that it is likely that incidence rates for dementia will increase as longevity continues to increase and diagnosis improves.