Council steps up to tackle isolation for older people

25 May 2017

A renewed drive to tackle loneliness and social isolation for residents in South Cambridgeshire has launched with the announcement of a cabinet position to cover Health and Wellbeing.

Cllr Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, announced outgoing Chairman, Cllr Sue Ellington, as the new cabinet member at the annual Council meeting today (Thursday 25 May) to help make sure the effects of social isolation can be tackled in the district.

The renewed drive to tackle the issue is linked to research which shows mortality rates equal to the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day, with 70% of people who are socially isolated are depressed.

Cllr Peter Topping said: “Social isolation is a pressing matter we must step up and address. Over half of all people over 75 live alone and two fifths of all older people say their television is their main company. This has serious health implications and we need to make sure we are playing our part so people can live long and happy lives in the communities they call home.”

Cllr Sue Ellington currently sits on the Health and Wellbeing board and Health Committee – two Cambridgeshire partnerships to address the issues and help make sure people spend less time in hospital and instead receive the appropriate care in their communities. She will continue to give a strong voice for South Cambridgeshire residents as the cabinet member for the District Council.

Cllr Ellington has also said that social isolation is not just a problem that impacts on older people in the district.

She said: “We have over 65,000 homes spread over more than 100 communities in the district. Having people out there whose only company is their TV is not what we want as it is a lonely existence and research has shown that this has a very negative impact on their health. As cabinet member I will not just be looking at the health and wellbeing for older people as social isolation is an issue that affects teenagers in particular too. Much of the work we as a Council, and the health partnerships, need to do is to enable people to help themselves in familiar surroundings. I’m really pleased to be coming back on to the cabinet team after my two-year term as Chairman and am looking forward to continuing to utilise my skills and knowledge to make sure that our communities are represented locally, regionally and nationally on these vital issues.”

AGE UK loneliness map: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/professional-resources-home/research/loneliness/loneliness-maps/