Reducing social isolation and promoting well being in older people

This source preferred by Ann Hemingway and Eleanor Jack

Authors: Hemingway, A. and Jack, E.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/21102/

Journal: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 25-35

Publisher: Emerald

ISSN: 1471-7794

DOI: 10.1108/14717791311311085

This paper reports on a three year research project exploring the impacts of an intervention seeking to reduce social isolation in the older age group. The research team initially reviewed the literature focusing on quality of life and the older adult and found that the term itself includes a broad range of life areas, with little consensus about the definition of the term itself. The literature clearly demonstrated however, that social and family relationships are embedded within the definition of a ‘good quality of life’ for older adults.

The overarching themes which guided the research process were: 1. A participatory approach to the research to enable club attendees, volunteers and staff to be meaningfully involved with the study as it progressed. 2. Three areas of learning to inform the study design, the existing literature on this area, the initial responses (data) collected and the `iterative` reflective process of being involved as researchers in this study.

3. To ensure data collection captured not only the `amount` or `degree` of impact on social isolation which the clubs may have for those who attend, but also the narratives or `stories` which offer the details of their experiences. Overall the perceived benefits for attendees of attending the friendship clubs fell into three key areas; improved well being, social relations and mental and physical health.

Key Words: Older people, social isolation, social support

This data was imported from Scopus:

Authors: Hemingway, A. and Jack, E.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/21102/

Journal: Quality in Ageing and Older Adults

Volume: 14

Issue: 1

Pages: 25-35

ISSN: 1471-7794

DOI: 10.1108/14717791311311085

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to report on a three year research project exploring the impacts of an intervention seeking to reduce social isolation in older people. Design/methodology/approach - This study used qualitative research methods and a participative approach to facilitate the generation of the research objectives and process. Participant observation and individual/focus group interviews were used to collect data from 100 participants. Findings - Overall the perceived benefits for attendees of attending the friendship clubs fell into three key areas: improved well being, social relations and mental and physical health. Research limitations/ implications - A weakness of the participant observation method includes the possibility that the presence of the researcher influenced the findings. The process of gaining different data sets (observation, interviews and focus groups) and checking findings with another researcher and the research participants as the study progressed reduced the likelihood of this bias occurring. This study only considered individuals who attended the clubs. There are many who may not get this opportunity and the issue of how to engage with them through this type of intervention is not addressed. Originality/value - This study adds to the literature to guide practice and service provision as it introduces the finding that even when living with their families, older people can still feel socially isolated. In addition, this study found that club members and volunteers viewed themselves as assets for each other, offering support, advice and friendship - an important finding for service commissioners and providers. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

The data on this page was last updated at 05:17 on May 25, 2020.