Meeting to tackle loneliness problems

Loneliness at Christmas 2015
Loneliness at Christmas 2015

The significant impact that loneliness can have on people’s health and wellbeing will be discussed by leading health and social care professionals, councillors and GPs in Withernsea today (Thurs).

Recent national estimates put the number of people aged over 65 who are often or always lonely at over one million – this equates to around 5,400 people in the East Riding.

The East Riding Health and Wellbeing Board will receive a briefing on Loneliness and Isolation from director of public health, Dr Tim Allison, when it meets at the South Holderness Resource Centre (SHoRes), Withernsea at 2pm.

The report outlines the scale of the loneliness and isolation problem nationally and locally, its impact on people’s health and wellbeing, what contributes to the problem, and examples of what is being done to tackle it.

Dr Allison said: “The effect of loneliness and isolation on mortality exceeds the impact of well-known risk factors such as obesity, and has a similar effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Lonely individuals are at higher risk of the onset of disability. Loneliness puts individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline, and one study concluded that lonely people have a 64 per cent increased chance of developing clinical dementia.”

The report highlights examples of what is already being done in the East Riding to tackle the problem.

The West Hill Connected Project, in Bridlington, aims to encourage local residents to use IT to keep in touch with family and friends, find information and do online shopping.

Withernsea is the final East Riding wide location before the board reconvenes at County Hall, in Beverley on March 3.

A full agenda is available to view online at www.eastriding.gov.uk