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White paper: Loneliness and isolation in older people: everyone’s problem

Kathy Oxtoby, Dr Madihah A Afeez, Dr Amer Taha, Dr Fouad Siddiqui for GM

Loneliness has a devastating impact on older people, and this has been made much worse by the pandemic. Older people’s charity Age UK estimates the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. So what can be done, and whose problem is it?

“An older lady came to our Covid vaccination centre. When someone spoke to her she burst into tears. She said: ‘It’s the first time I’ve spoken to somebody in months’. The pandemic has been very difficult for older people. They’ve felt abandoned.”

Linda Nazarko, a consultant nurse in older people’s care, and a consultant nurse in physical health, west London, is describing an experience that is all too common — the devastating impact of loneliness on older people, made so much worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is the impact of this loneliness and isolation? What should be done and how can communication help? And whose problem actually is it? This white paper examines these questions and provides the summary of an audit on improving communication between doctors and patients’ next of kin, to remind us why communication is so important and that isolation shouldn’t just be expected in older people.


Download the White Paper

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