Social Isolation & Loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness affects people of all ages but older people are particularly at risk of experiencing both. Issues commonly associated with ageing (such as poor health, decreased mobility and income, and loss of family and friends) mean that older people may become more socially isolated, and this can lead to increased feelings of loneliness.

Social isolation and loneliness are associated with a range of adverse health outcomes. One study of mortality found that having weak social connections carries a health risk:

  • equivalent to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day
  • equivalent to alcohol addiction
  • more harmful than not exercising
  • twice as harmful as obesity

This report brings together a range of evidence about the impact of social isolation and loneliness in Oldham. The paper also highlights the many services and assets in our communities that may help tackle the issue. Please note that this report is concerned with loneliness among all adults in Oldham, not just older people.

The PHOF contains 2 indicators relating to social isolation among carers and users of adult social care. In 2017/18, only 46% of adult social care users in Oldham reported that they had as much social contact as they would like; this is similar to the North West and England averages.

In 2018, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published analyses of characteristics and circumstances associated with loneliness in England. Please note that this report is concerned with loneliness among all adults, not just older people.