Social isolation can be described as a low level of interaction with others combined with the experience of loneliness. It is a serious issue for seniors because of the detrimental impact it can have on health and wellbeing.
Although the majority of older people are not socially isolated, the number of people at risk of social isolation is expected to increase with the ageing of the population.
Factors that lead to social isolation of older people include retirement, physical disability and ill health, loss of a partner and loss of transport.
It is important that older people have the opportunity to be socially connected and, if they wish, to participate in community life.
The Cross-Government Project to Reduce Social Isolation of Older People was established in 2003 to identify and develop innovative responses to reduce the social isolation of seniors. The project has identified many key findings that can inform program design, service delivery and policy development. A number of reports from various stages of the project have been published. The project also developed best practice guidelines to assist service providers, government agencies and community groups in designing and implementing projects to reduce social isolation of seniors.
For more information, or copies of these reports, please contact Office for Seniors.