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Social isolation experienced by older people in rural communities

For some people, the effects of not having family close to home, perhaps as a consequence of re-location or bereavement, can leave them in a position where they do not have day-to-day contact with others. This can be compounded by physical difficulties leaving the home, to a point where there is very little contact with other people. Under the Government’s Localism agenda, services which can address social isolation may be delivered at as local a level as possible, and be provided by a combination of public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

This report examines the rural dimension to these issues, and assesses the impact that Government policy is having on three key areas of policy and public services: social care, transport and housing; and the extent to which they address social isolation for older people. It also identifies a number of approaches, and examples of good practice, which can maximise the benefits of community and voluntary activity. The report concludes with a series of recommendations.