May 20 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Maps showing the loneliest places in the UK are to be created, it will be announced today.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the move will lead to better care for people feeling social isolation.
He will ask local authorities to identify areas where older people suffer most acutely from loneliness.
Research shows that loneliness increases the risk of heart disease, puts people at greater risk of blood clots and dementia, makes them less likely to exercise and more likely to drink more, a Department of Health spokeswoman said.
Mr Hunt said: “Tackling loneliness, by giving people better care and improved services, is another step towards making the UK one of the best places to live in Europe for older people.
“We need a measure of loneliness to shine a light on this problem and to know what we are dealing with.
“Once we have this solid evidence, local communities will have new tools to come up with the right, targeted solutions to the problem.”
Mr Hunt is also announcing a £20million fund to help older people stay warm over the winter months. Council projects to help vulnerable people keep warm will receive a share of the money.