Social isolation and loneliness in people aged 55 and over in Milton Keynes: the way forward

Palmer, Jane; Minocha, Shailey; Holland, Caroline; McNulty, Catherine and Banks, Duncan (2016). Social isolation and loneliness in people aged 55 and over in Milton Keynes: the way forward. In: Ageing Well and Living Well Scoping Workshop, 23 Feb 2016, Age UK Milton Keynes, The Peartree Centre, Milton Keynes.


The Ageing Well and Living Well Scoping Workshop was organised by Gail Addison, Head of Public Health – Delivery, People Directorate, Milton Keynes Council in collaboration with Age UK Milton Keynes.

The aims of the workshop were to:
• Explore the connectivity between the Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB) and existing Partnership and Programme Boards across Milton Keynes
• Explore the remit of the Partnership and Programme Boards in order to identify commonalities and fit with the HWB Board’s Strategic Implementation Plan and Priorities, including;
• Social Isolation (Priority focus for Ageing Well partnership)
• Reducing Obesity (Priority focus for Living Well partnership)
• Identify next steps and commitment to action

At this workshop, Professor Shailey Minocha of The Open University along with Jane Palmer, CEO, Age UK Milton Keynes led the track on social isolation and loneliness in people aged over 55 years in Milton Keynes.

We highlighted the effects of social isolation and loneliness on the well-being and quality of life of people. For example, individuals lacking social contact carry a health risk equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes in a day. We discussed the societal impacts of social isolation such as increased use of health and social care services, higher number of emergency admissions and GP consultations, slower discharge from hospitals which causes pressure on financial resources and health services. We outlined the risk factors of social isolation and particularly in the context of Milton Keynes. Drawing on from our report (, we emphasised the challenges for the community and for older people due to the increasing population of older people in Milton Keynes. We presented possible solutions for addressing the problem of social isolation and loneliness in Milton Keynes in three categories: one-to-one interventions
 (e.g. visits by community home visitors, regular phone conversations, visits by neighbours); group interventions
(e.g. Men in sheds, lunch clubs, coffee mornings, inter-generational initiatives – for example, learning to get online, walking groups, local history society) and wider community and neighbourhood interventions such as encouraging older people to be volunteers; co-designing the programmes with older people - e.g. neighbouhood watch programmes and design of age-friendly design of spaces – local neighbourhoods and city centre in Milton Keynes.

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