Ensuring good mental health and wellbeing is as important in older age as it is at any other time of life, particularly as the UK’s population continues to age rapidly. Now, as Loneliness Awareness Week gets underway, leading national housing and care provider Anchor Hanover wants to ensure nobody feels alone wherever they live.
According to research from Age UK, the number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is expected to grow and is set to reach two million people by 2025/6. Such a significant rise is also felt in society as a whole, with an increased impact on health and wellbeing services.
Over the years, Anchor Hanover has refined its approach to combatting loneliness and helping overcome isolation by bringing regular community-based social activities onto its locations. Some of the more popular initiatives include good neighbour schemes, exercise classes, arts and crafts sessions, and IT lessons. Depending upon the location, the sessions may be run by local staff, community volunteers or by residents themselves.
Nick Sedgwick, Director of Service Development at Anchor Hanover, said: “Nobody should feel alone and believe they have no one to turn to. We want older people to live in strong, vibrant communities, which is why we are always encouraging our residents to be good neighbours and to take part in activities that make them feel connected with those around them.
“While each of our estates is different in size - and the breadth and type of activities we host may vary – the underlying aim for us is to build a positive and welcoming atmosphere at each location. We also value engagement from everyone in the local community, so it’s great that we’re able to accommodate different groups who want to take part in events we organise and who host a range of activities of their own.”
Many Anchor Hanover estates give residents and their relatives help to combat loneliness, actively encouraging people to take part in events and activities. They also engage with others in the community, who may not have the same support and services in place that can be found in a social housing environment.