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Age UK Oxfordshire and the Campaign to End Loneliness hosted an international conference at Oxford on July 9-10 to bring together the latest robust evidence on loneliness from around the world. A "loneliness toolkit" for health and wellbeing boards was launched at the conference.
Social isolation and loneliness is a key determinant of the current and future health and social care needs of the older population. Research shows that loneliness has a similar impact on mortality as smoking, and is worse than obesity. It has significant links to hypertension, depression, and increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%.
To tackle this problem the Campaign to End Loneliness is working with local councils and health bodies in the UK to implement a loneliness toolkit, designed to help health and wellbeing boards consider how they might build it into their Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies (JHWSs).
The purpose of the “What do we know about loneliness?” research conference in Oxford was to inform action by national governments, local authorities, communities and civil society, the academic research community, research funders and individuals themselves.
The programme combined contributions from some of the leading academics in the field with several interactive sessions exploring specific themes including: Who is most at risk? What are the health impacts? What works in reducing loneliness? How can we prevent loneliness in later life?