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Isolation and loneliness a top priority for Health and Wellbeing Board

A Bridlington Informer News Item from Bridlington.net - Visit Bridlington Informer

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Work is being undertaken to highlight the risk and impact of loneliness and isolation in the East Riding by the area's Health and Wellbeing Board.

Research over decades has found a fairly constant proportion (6-13%) of older people feeling lonely often or always. Over the same time period, there have been a growing percentage of older people who sometimes feel lonely.

As populations age, ever more individuals are likely to be lonely. Recent estimates place the number of people aged over 65 who are often or always lonely at over one million. This equates to approximately 5,400 residents in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Further work is to be undertaken to identify system-based activity aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation with a view to holding a Loneliness and Isolation System-based Summit in 2018 to identify and share good practice and learning, identify gaps in provision and work towards developing system-based approaches to address the issue.

The Board will also focus on the topic of early onset dementia, also known as Young Onset Dementia, which is a term used to describe the deterioration of cognitive functioning, such as memory, language and judgement in people under 65, and support efforts to reduce inequalities whilst promoting health, wellbeing and independence.

In October 2017, there were 3,101 people in the East Riding who were recorded on GP registers as having dementia, of which 73 were under 65. The expected prevalence published by NHS Digital for those over 65 at 31 October 2017 was 4,660. The estimate of the number of people with young onset dementia in the East Riding is between 120 and 250.

Councillor Jonathan Owen, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "The work to improve the lives of those who are lonely and isolated is a key priority to ensure the health and wellbeing of East Riding residents and connecting individuals with appropriate services and community assets is of great importance to us."The Board is an important tool in driving forward change in relation to the health and social care needs of East Riding residents and is the perfect platform from which to continue the good work that is already being done locally to address these key priorities."

Other items on the agenda include supporting carers in the East Riding, housing strategy for older people, a presentation from the Chair of East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group and an update for the Life Course Stage 4: Age Well and End of Life.

The Board will meet at County Hall in Beverley on Thursday, 14 December at 2pm. For a full agenda visit www.eastriding.gov.uk

For information about volunteering to become a befriender, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/eastriding or visit http://www2.eastriding.gov.uk/leisure/sport-and-play/clubs-and-activities/activities-for-older-people/ to get involved in East Riding sessions to help combat isolation and loneliness.