Health and Wellbeing Innovation Commission Inquiry: Social Connections and Loneliness

Sep 27, 2018 | REPORTS

This report on social connections and loneliness is one of four publications from ILC-UK’s Health and Wellbeing Innovation Commission Inquiry. Each of the four reports is based on an oral evidence session where expert witnesses gave evidence to the commissioners, as well as further research from ILC-UK.

As our population continues to age, the demand for robust health and care services continues to grow. ILC-UK established this Commission with the support of the Audley Group and EY to examine the potential for innovation in the areas of health and wellbeing to ensure that such services remain sustainable, address needs efficiently, and contribute to positive experiences in later life.

A team of 10 Commissioners heard evidence from a total of 20 expert witnesses over four separate sessions, looking at what ‘good’ innovation looks like and how we can stimulate it to improve health and wellbeing so that all people can age well into the future.

It took evidence and published reports in four separate areas:

  1. Retirement communities and care homes
  2. The built environment including transport, planning and design
  3. Physical and mental health
  4. Social connections including isolation and loneliness

This Commission Inquiry has been the first to bring together all these different strands and assess where good innovation is happening and where a renewed focus needs to be for all people to age well in the future.

Social Connections – including isolation and loneliness

This report examines social connections and loneliness. Social connections are a fundamental aspect of people’s lives, impacting on expressions of identity as well as individual health and wellbeing. Policy interest in this area has also grown in recent years, par¬ticularly with respect to addressing the issues of social isolation and loneliness. It is therefore timely that we reflect on the available evidence around how innovation can help foster, harness, and improve social connections to the benefit for all people in an ageing society.

This report sets out examples of effective innovation in the area of social connections, opportunities and barriers to further innovation, and recommendations.

Author: Dr Brian Beach