This report for the Housing Learning and Improvement Network explores the likely impact of housing with care in helping to limit social isolation and loneliness from being an integral part of the ageing experience. The report questions the ways in which living in extra care housing could reduce or lower the risk of social isolation, and how this could in turn translate to lower dependency on state services. The report also presents case studies that outline the mechanisms through which living in extra care housing reduces the risk of social isolation. It begins through reviewing current government standpoints on social isolation and loneliness.
Mindfulness is a form of meditative practice that involves paying attention to present-moment experiences in a non-judgemental way in order to cultivate a stable and nonreactive awareness. Although mindfulness has been studied in relation to various health conditions, no known published study exists which considers mindfulness in the context of visual impairment. Semi-structured interviews were therefore conducted with blind and partially sighted individuals who participated in regular mindfulness practice. Their narratives were then analysed thematically. The results suggest that mindfulness enhanced spiritual well-being by increasing their sense of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal ‘connectedness’, which was seen to be related to a self-perceived increase in emotional, social, and physical health. The findings of this exploratory study call for further research into the utility of mindfulness as a well-being resource for individuals with a visual impairment.
In this article, the author reviews findings in dementia care on interventions and on quality of life with the aim of identifying factors associated with quality of life which can form the basis for interventions enhancing quality of life for people with dementia. The article looks at evaluation of well-being and quality of life in people with dementia, including the importance of "hearing the voice of people with dementia", and the key factors predicting quality of life in people with dementia. Drawing on this, it suggests potential strategies and interventions for improving quality of life in people with dementia: improve mood, maintain health, hopeful staff attitudes, reduce use of anti-psychotic medication, enhance relationship with carer, encourage family involvement, cognitive stimulation and cognitive rehabilitation, and creative activities and approaches.
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.