Preventing loneliness and social isolation: interventions and outcomes

Windle, Karen, Francis, Jennifer and Coomber, Caroline (2011) Preventing loneliness and social isolation: interventions and outcomes. Project Report. Social Care Institute for Excellence, London.

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Item Type:Paper or Report (Project Report)
Item Status:Live Archive


Key messages
• Older people are particularly vulnerable to
social isolation or loneliness owing to loss
of friends and family, mobility or income.
• Social isolation and loneliness impact upon
individuals’ quality of life and wellbeing,
adversely affecting health and increasing
their use of health and social care services.
• The interventions to tackle social isolation
or loneliness include: befriending,
mentoring, Community Navigators, social
group schemes.
• People who use befriending or Community
Navigator services reported that they were
less lonely and socially isolated following the
• The outcomes from mentoring services are
less clear; one study reported improvements
in mental and physical health, another that
no difference was found.
• Where longitudinal studies recorded
survival rates, older people who were part
of a social group intervention had a greater
chance of survival than those who had not
received such a service.
• Users report high satisfaction with services,
benefiting from such interventions by
increasing their social interaction and
community involvement, taking up or going
back to hobbies and participating in wider
community activities.
• Users argued for flexibility and adaptation
of services. One-to-one services could be
more flexible, while enjoyment of group
activities would be greater if these could
be tailored to users’ preferences.
• When planning services to reduce social
isolation or loneliness, strong partnership
arrangements need to be in place between
organisations to ensure developed services
can be sustained.
• We need to invest in proven projects.
Community Navigator interventions
have been shown to be effective in
identifying those individuals who are
socially isolated. Befriending services can
be effective in reducing depression and
• Research needs to be carried out on
interventions that include different
genders, populations and localities.
• There is an urgent need for more
longitudinal, randomised controlled
trials that incorporate standardised
quality-of-life and cost measures.

Additional Information:Research Briefings: 39 Review date October 2014
Keywords:Older people, oaopen
Subjects:L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND SCIENCE > School of Health & Social Care
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ID Code:13431
Deposited On:26 Feb 2014 12:20

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