taking steps to reduce social isolation amongst older people
To mark Older People's Day on 1 October, Kathryn Shaw, our Comms and PR manager, discusses how we're helping older people walk more - boosting health and reducing loneliness.
70% = less lonely or isolated
80% = less stressed or anxious
It makes you feel more social - mixing with different people that aren’t your neighbours and having a chat with different people about different things.
And earlier this year, Living Streets launched a unique initiative in Birmingham which aimed to support staff from a local company to tackle social isolation amongst the over-65s. ‘Wythall Walking Friends’ saw a group of staff volunteers from Phoenix Group – a local insurance company - trained by Living Streets to run a series of led walks.
The walking initiative has already helped to reduce isolation in the local community; encouraging new friendships, increasing exercise and discovering natural points of interest - thus helping to reduce the risk of depression and dementia.
One woman had not been out since November the previous year but said afterwards that she had the confidence to go walking; two other women who met on the walks were former friends and hadn’t realised they lived nearby. The walk leader commented that often it was ‘more talk than walk’ – that the older people enjoyed the time to socialise and connect more than anything else.