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Loneliness Awareness Week is a national initiative that aims to raise awareness about the problem of loneliness and social isolation in the UK. This year, Loneliness Week takes place from 12th-18th June and is the campaign’s fourth year.
Seeking to highlight the growing number of vulnerable and isolated individuals who are affected by loneliness, the government has released its “Tackling Loneliness” annual report for 2023 which highlights the profound impact that loneliness has on people’s physical and mental health.
Who is Most at Risk of Loneliness?
According to recent statistics, loneliness is a particularly serious problem for vulnerable and older people. Research shows that around 1.2 million older people in the UK are chronically lonely, with many of them experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result.
The report reveals that as well as health issues, loneliness has a highly negative impact on an individual’s overall quality of life. Findings indicate that there is a significant gap in support and resources available to those who are most vulnerable to loneliness, including those that fall into the demographic for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).
Assistive Technology for Reducing Loneliness at Home
In the face of this growing problem, assistive technology is emerging as a key tool for combating loneliness and social isolation. Technologies such as smart home devices and virtual assistants, can provide companionship, help people stay connected with loved ones, and offer support for everyday tasks.
These technologies can be particularly helpful for those who live alone without any outside care or support. In some cases, assistive technology can be used to monitor and manage a person’s health or provide reminders for medication and other important tasks.
One initiative that promotes the use of assistive technology in addressing loneliness is the DFG. For example, the grant could be used to purchase a smart home device or a virtual assistant that can provide additional help around the house making it a safer, more pleasant environment to live in.
Research shows that the positive impacts of assistive technology on loneliness and social isolation are significant and growing. In a recent study, 65% of older adults who used assistive technology in this way reported reduced loneliness, while 70% of individuals using smart home devices felt more connected to their community.
Paving the Way for a Less Lonely Future
Overall, Loneliness Awareness Week is an important event that highlights the need for action and support for people impacted by loneliness and social isolation. However, a key focus of the campaign is to drive a lasting shift so that relationships and loneliness are considered in policy-making and delivery by organisations across society, supporting and amplifying the impact of organisations that are connecting people.
With assistive technology playing an increasingly important role in keeping people connected and engaged, the DFG could prove to be a valuable resource in addressing this important issue. There are many ways in which the DFG can be used to enhance a vulnerable individual’s home to make it a less lonely and safer place to live.
Speak to Our Regional Advisors
The core of our services lies within the Regional Advisors team, who offer guidance and aid to both Local Authorities and Home Improvement Agencies. Thanks to our funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, our daily assistance comes at no cost to our clients. Contact our team today to learn more about the DFG and the intitiatives we run to tackle the ongoing issue of loneliness in the UK.