Loneliness: Older People

Department of Health written question – answered on 21st July 2015.

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Photo of Seema Kennedy Seema Kennedy Conservative, South Ribble

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of older people experiencing loneliness.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

My Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health set out in his speech to the Local Government Association on 1 July that we all have a responsibility at an individual, family, and community level to identify people with care needs such as loneliness and provide support and improve their wellbeing.

Through the Care Act 2014 the Department has required local authorities to have measures in place to identify people in their area who would benefit from universal services to help reduce, delay or prevent needs for care and support. This includes needs that may arise from social isolation.

The Department has supported a ‘digital toolkit’ for local commissioners, which was developed by the Campaign to End Loneliness. Since its launch in July 2012, the toolkit has been supporting commissioners in understanding, mapping and commissioning for loneliness and social isolation in their communities.

Alongside work to build our understanding of the issue and expanding the evidence base, we have launched the Prevention Library where local authorities can exchange ideas and experience of the impact of information, advice and befriending services.

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