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Results for 'social networks'

Results 1 - 10 of 49

Understanding the effectiveness and mechanisms of a social prescribing service: a mixed method analysis

WOODALL James, et al
2018

Background: Evidence of the effectiveness of social prescribing is inconclusive causing commissioning challenges. This research focusses on a social prescribing scheme in Northern England which deploys ‘Wellbeing Coordinators’ who offer support to individuals, providing advice on local groups and services in their community. The research sought to understand the outcomes of the service and, in addition, the processes which supported delivery. Methods: Quantitative data was gathered from service users at the point they entered the service and also at the point they exited. Qualitative interviews were also undertaken with service users to gather further understanding of the service and any positive or negative outcomes achieved. In addition, a focus group discussion was also conducted with members of social prescribing staff to ascertain their perspectives of the service both from an operational and strategic perspective. Results: In total, 342 participants provided complete wellbeing data at baseline and post stage and 26 semi-structured qualitative interviews were carried out. Improvements in participants’ well-being, and perceived levels of health and social connectedness as well as reductions in anxiety was demonstrated. In many cases, the social prescribing service had enabled individuals to have a more positive and optimistic view of their life often through offering opportunities to engage in a range of hobbies and activities in the local community. The data on reductions in future access to primary care was inconclusive. Some evidence was found to show that men may have greater benefit from social prescribing than women. Some of the processes which increased the likelihood of success on the social prescribing scheme included the sustained and flexible relationship between the service user and the Wellbeing Coordinator and a strong and vibrant voluntary and community sector. Conclusions: Social prescribing has the potential to address the health and social needs of individuals and communities. This research has shown a range of positive outcomes as a result of service users engaging with the service. Social prescribing should be conceptualised as one way to support primary care and tackle unmet needs.

Interventions to address social connectedness and loneliness for older adults: a scoping review

O'ROURKE Hannah M., COLLINS Laura, SIDANI Souraya
2018

Background: Older adults are at risk for loneliness, and interventions to promote social connectedness are needed to directly address this problem. The nature of interventions aimed to affect the distinct, subjective concepts of loneliness/social connectedness has not been clearly described. The purpose of this review was to map the literature on interventions and strategies to affect loneliness/social connectedness for older adults. Methods: A comprehensive scoping review was conducted. Six electronic databases were searched from inception in July 2015, resulting in 5530 unique records. Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria were applied, resulting in a set of 44 studies (reported in 54 articles) for further analysis. Data were extracted to describe the interventions and strategies, and the context of the included studies. Analytic techniques included calculating frequencies, manifest content analysis and meta-summary. Results: Interventions were described or evaluated in 39 studies, and five studies described strategies to affect loneliness/social connectedness of older adults or their caregivers in a qualitative descriptive study. The studies were often conducted in the United States (38.6%) among community dwelling (54.5%), cognitively intact (31.8%), and female-majority (86.4%) samples. Few focused on non-white participants (4.5%). Strategies described most often were engaging in purposeful activity and maintaining contact with one’s social network. Of nine intervention types identified, the most frequently described were One-to-One Personal Contact and Group Activity. Authors held divergent views of why the same type of intervention might impact social connectedness, but social contact was the most frequently conceptualized influencing factor targeted, both within and across intervention types. Conclusions: Research to test the divergent theories of why interventions work is needed to advance understanding of intervention mechanisms. Innovative conceptualizations of intervention targets are needed, such as purposeful activity, that move beyond the current focus on the objective social network as a way to promote social connectedness for older adults.

A mixed methods case study exploring the impact of membership of a multi-activity, multicentre community group on social wellbeing of older adults

LINDSAY-SMITH Gabrielle, et al
2018

Background: Social wellbeing factors such as loneliness and social support have a major impact on the health of older adults and can contribute to physical and mental wellbeing. However, with increasing age, social contacts and social support typically decrease and levels of loneliness increase. Group social engagement appears to have additional benefits for the health of older adults compared to socialising individually with friends and family, but further research is required to confirm whether group activities can be beneficial for the social wellbeing of older adults. Methods: This one-year longitudinal mixed methods study investigated the effect of joining a community group, offering a range of social and physical activities, on social wellbeing of adults with a mean age of 70. The study combined a quantitative survey assessing loneliness and social support (n = 28; three time-points, analysed using linear mixed models) and a qualitative focus group study (n = 11, analysed using thematic analysis) of members from Life Activities Clubs Victoria, Australia. Results: There was a significant reduction in loneliness (p = 0.023) and a trend toward an increase in social support (p = 0.056) in the first year after joining. The focus group confirmed these observations and suggested that social support may take longer than 1 year to develop. Focus groups also identified that group membership provided important opportunities for developing new and diverse social connections through shared interest and experience. These connections were key in improving the social wellbeing of members, especially in their sense of feeling supported or connected and less lonely. Participants agreed that increasing connections was especially beneficial following significant life events such as retirement, moving to a new house or partners becoming unwell. Conclusions: Becoming a member of a community group offering social and physical activities may improve social wellbeing in older adults, especially following significant life events such as retirement or moving-house, where social network changes. These results indicate that ageing policy and strategies would benefit from encouraging long-term participation in social groups to assist in adapting to changes that occur in later life and optimise healthy ageing.

The neighbourhood asset mapping of greater Fishponds: a project delivered by BAB community researchers


2018

This report presents the findings of a neighbourhood asset-mapping by community researchers in one area of Bristol, and includes their reflections on the asset-mapping process itself. The mapping included a range of organisations, clubs and activities where older people might engage, either as participants or volunteers, some of which might not be expressly focused on older people. Assets identified ranged from churches and traditional service providers to bicycling and gardening clubs to cafes to individuals who were seen as important resources in their neighbourhoods. The mapping also identified some of the community deficits, which included poor public transportation, obstacles to walkability, and a basic lack of resources and facilities. An important insight from the asset mapping work was how boundaries of wards and neighbourhood partnership areas are artificial from the point of view of both many community groups and many older people, with older residents accessing various assets across ward and neighbourhood partnership boundaries.

Evaluation of Time to Shine: year 2 interim findings

WIGFIELD Andrea, ALDEN Sarah
2017

Interim evaluation of Time to Shine, the Big Lottery funded Ageing Better programme running in Leeds, which is funding projects for specific groups most likely to experience isolation and loneliness. These include older men; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender older people (LGBT), Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) older people; and older people with learning disabilities. Based on analysis of the monitoring and evaluation data, the report provides an overview of what has been learnt about what works in reducing social isolation and loneliness and how the programme is leading to change at the individual, local, and citywide level drawing. It also reports on the commissioning process and looks at how co-production has been incorporated into design, and delivery and evaluation of the programme. It reports that as of 30 June 2017, over 5,600 people of all ages have been involved in Time to Shine projects in some way, including: over 2,600 older people participating regularly in Time to Shine projects and 335 older volunteers and 140 volunteers aged 49 or under helping to plan, deliver or steer projects. The results suggest that being involved in Time to Shine helped some people to feel they were more involved in their local area, improved life satisfaction scores.

Age-friendly and inclusive volunteering: review of community contributions in later life

JOPLING Kate, JONES Dan
2018

This review considers how to enable more people to contribute to their communities, in later life (defined as aged 50 and over), with a focus on increasing participation among underrepresented groups, especially those in poor health or living with long-term health conditions. It covers activities such as neighbourliness, helping in the community and volunteering. It draws on a range of sources including a call for evidence, a call for practice and seven roundtable meetings involving over 100 participants. The report looks at why people get involved with their communities and how contributing to communities can improve social connections, and lead to increased life satisfaction and wellbeing; how volunteering can change across the life course; and the practical, structural and emotional barriers to contributing to communities. It sets out a framework for age-friendly, inclusive volunteering, which includes for volunteering to: be flexible and to fit around life changes; to provide support and training needed; to provide opportunities to be sociable and feel connected; value volunteers; provide meaningful activity; and make good use of strengths and experiences. The review makes recommendations for the voluntary, public and private sectors on how to tackle the barriers to enable people to continue to volunteer throughout their lifetime. Case studies of good practice are included throughout the report.

KOMP

No Isolation

Described most simply as a ‘one button screen’, KOMP is a communication tool designed specifically for, and in collaboration with, older people. The product is designed by No Isolation (www.noisolation.com), an Oslo-based start-up founded to reduce involuntary social isolation and loneliness. Following the success of its first product, a telepresence robot named AV1, designed to help children with long-term illness attend school and stay connected with their friends, the company decided to focus on developing an initial solution for seniors and launched KOMP. To date, more than 400 KOMPs are in use in Norway alone, with seven being trialled in the UK. While many have a large family unit, and enjoy spending time with family and friends, older people are still the single largest group affected by loneliness. According to Age UK, 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, with 1.9 million reporting feeling ignored and invisible. In 2017, Eurostat reported that 1.1 million seniors are in contact with relatives just once a month or less. Seeing the positive impact that being able to communicate has had on users of AV1, No Isolation knew the power that being connected could have, in terms of reducing feelings of loneliness. They were also acutely aware that the devices that are currently available to allow people to go online and socialise with family and friends are either too complicated or do not meet the needs of most seniors. Modifying existing technology simply wasn't an option, so No Isolation worked with older people, families and designers to work out exactly what KOMP needed to feature to work for its target user. By conducting extensive research into how seniors interacted with technology, No Isolation found that touch screens were not intuitive, and for some, not receptive, to the fingertips of the elderly - which led to KOMP only having one large, graspable button. To avoid confusion, the user can switch the device off and on by twisting the button, as well as change the KOMP’s volume by rotating it.

Social isolation, loneliness and older people

SMITH Lauren
2018

A literature review on social isolation, loneliness and older people. The review provides citations and short summaries of the literature identified, covering the following themes: the community context, research around interventions, social capital, mental wellbeing, mobility and wellbeing, social inclusion and community building, digital engagement and evaluating interventions. The majority of articles included are systematic reviews and literature reviews. The review was commissioned by an alliance of older people’s forums to contribute to their response to the Scottish Government's draft strategy 'A connected Scotland: tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger communities'. It is not comprehensive but aims to provide links to perspectives from academic research that may be less commonly present within contributions to consultations.

What do we know about the relationship between internet-mediated interaction and social isolation and loneliness in later life?

BENEITO-MONTAGUT Roser, CASSIAN-YDE Nizaia, BEGUERIA Arantza
2018

Purpose: Social isolation and loneliness are recognised social, health and wellbeing problems that particularly affect later life. They have been the subject of many recent studies. Studies examining the role of the internet in addressing these problems have multiplied. However, it is still not known whether internet-mediated social interaction has any role in mitigating social isolation and or loneliness. To address this gap, the purpose of this paper is to review previous research that investigates the relationship between internet use for communication and social isolation and loneliness. Design/methodology/approach: This paper reviews the empirical literature published since 2000 and expands on previous literature reviews by including a variety of research designs and disciplines. Findings: Despite the recent increase in studies, there is still little evidence to show internet effects on social isolation and loneliness. It is concluded that future research programmes aimed at reducing them by the use of the internet should include more robust methodological and theoretical frameworks, employ longitudinal research designs and provide a more nuanced description of both the social phenomena (social isolation and loneliness) and internet-mediated social interaction. Originality/value: Previous reviews are not restricted to internet-based studies and include several types of interventions aiming at reducing social isolation and/or loneliness. They do not attempt to disentangle the internet effects of social isolation and loneliness.

Health 2020 priority area four: creating supportive environments and resilient communities: a compendium of inspirational examples


2018

Brings together innovative examples of actions taken in 13 countries to strengthen resilience and build supportive environments for population health and well-being. The examples show how building resilience can be achieved by developing and sustaining partnerships between institutions and communities; by community action and bottom-up efforts; at system level, both nationally and locally. The examples, primarily gathered from community initiatives, are linked to the four types of resilience capacities: adaptive, absorptive, anticipatory and transformative. Topics covered include the role of resilience building in addressing human rights, health inequities, environmental hazards, and health-related topics such as communicable and noncommunicable diseases. Examples from the UK include: Promoting social connections and community networks for older people through Better in Sheffield; Supporting local systems to tackle the social determinants of health inequalities; Strengthening resilience through the early intervention and prevention: breaking the generational cycle of crime project; and A social movement for health and resilience in Blackburn with Darwen. Each example attempts to describe: the action undertaken; the resilience-related issue that the action aimed to address; and the impact and lessons learnt in the process of strengthening resilience.

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