NEWSLETTER (51:17) – on Community Navigators 

Social Isolation and Loneliness of Older People

Over the last few years, many groups in BS3 have looked at the issue of social isolation and loneliness of older people.   Why do some people over 50 (an estimated 11,000 in Bristol) become socially isolated?   How do you return someone to the community when they have become depressed, withdrawn and have lost confidence?   What measures do you need to take to make it less likely that people will become isolated in the first place?

A new project ‘Community Navigators’ is due to be launched at Bristol’s Celebrating Age Festival (23 September) at City Hall which will help to tackle this issue.

How will it work?

Community Navigators Bristol offers free signposting and support to older people who want to feel less isolated and more involved in their local area.   Friendly, trained ‘navigators’ will make contact with older people, get to know them and share information about what’s happening where they live.   Whether it’s meeting people, becoming more active, rekindling old hobbies, volunteering or learning something new, the community navigator can point the older person in the right direction.

If the person needs extra support, the community navigator can come along with them when they try something for the first time.   They can also support the older person with any concerns that they have about getting out and about – including safety, transport or money worries – by connecting them with other community and health services to tackle these problems.

The service provides short-term support for older people over 50 and is completely free.   It is available to people in their home or via phone appointments.  Community Navigators is funded by Bristol Ageing Better and run by a partnership of trusted local organisations.

Why is it a problem?

“Loneliness is thought to be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day – and according to Age UK there are 1.2 million older people in England who are chronically lonely,” said Laura Thacker and Gemma Holden, the two Community Navigator Coordinators for the Bristol-wide service.   “Connecting people with their community can give huge benefits to long-term health and wellbeing.   We hope that through our network of local community navigators we’ll be able to transform the lives of people who are currently feeling isolated from their own communities.” Continue reading “NEWSLETTER (51:17) – on Community Navigators “