For many, summer is a time for having barbeques with friends or holidays with family. It's a social time. But for some, the experience is one of being lonely and socially isolated.
The statistics tells us that 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month. We know that social networks are good for us. Research by Nesta found that ‘People with stronger social relationships have lower mortality rates than those with poor or inadequate social relationships.’ Research by SCIE arrived at the same conclusion.
At the heart of the problem is the lack of social networks and social connections that people have. Many do not have friends or family members they can see for pleasure - or to access support. They may have skills and capabilities, for instance they used to teach or were a great gardener, but they may have no way of using their assets. They may have a disability that keeps them at home. They may not know how to use a computer, even though they are eager to meet people online.