Positive wellbeing and good mental health are key when it comes to stopping older people from being lonely. Studies from similar projects suggest that about 75% of the people identified as isolated and lonely are likely to have some form of mental health problem, mostly depression, which could be the cause or result of their loneliness and isolation.
Funded by Bristol Ageing Better (BAB), 5 new pilot projects providing different approaches to enhancing older people’s wellbeing will be rolled out in the coming months. The Bristol Ageing Better Programme aims to fund projects which identify the most isolated older people and that provide activities and services to empower them and improve their contact with their community.
Wellspring Healthy Living Centre, Carers Support Centre in partnership with Dhek Bhal, Happy City, Second Step and Oasis-Talk were awarded a total of £75,000 to trial different approaches to solution-focused brief interventions to support those older people whose emotional problems contribute to their loneliness.
Regarding the announcement, Vicki Palmer from Oasis-Talk said: "Oasis-Talk are delighted to have been awarded BAB funding for a pilot which we have been wanting to do for 2 years and didn't have the people or financial resources to do. We know from our NHS delivery [of approximately 50% of the talking therapies in Bristol] that older adults don't take up the opportunity to access talking therapies in the numbers that would be expected. Our pilot will work directly with older adult groups in Easton to identify the barriers to accessing talking therapies and then they will help us design more user-friendly services."
Carers Support Centre are also delighted to have received funding from BAB and to be working in partnership with Dhek Bhal to pilot a telephone counselling service for older carers. Keith Sinclair, CEO of Carers Support Centre, said: “We know that older carers face a range of issues including grief, loss, isolation and loneliness. The pilot aims to help older carers manage their own health and wellbeing better. Providing counselling by phone means that carers do not have to go out to an appointment, as leaving the person they care for on their own can be very difficult.”
Zehra Haq, CEO of Dhek Bhal, added: “We often meet carers who are so distressed and upset. They have been suffering in silence and language is a barrier as well. It is easy to get depressed and lonely when you are caring for someone non-stop. This service will help carers find solutions.”
Second Step, a mental health charity based in Bristol, has also welcomed the announcement: “Second Step are very excited to be launching a pilot project in partnership with Brunelcare which will offer solutions-focused psychological interventions and holistic support to older people. Our aim is to provide support today to develop skills and improved resilience and connectedness for the long term”, said Bryony Campbell, Operations Delivery Manager.
These pilot projects will run for 9 months, after which a larger service will be commissioned in Summer 2017.
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