Loneliness will be top of agenda as experts unite at summit

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PUSHING LONELINESS out of the shadows will be top of the agenda as health and wellbeing experts come together in Leeds today.

The Yorkshire Post joined forces with the Campaign to End Loneliness in February after the scale and the health burden that loneliness places on hundreds of thousands of people across the region was revealed.

The summit will bring together leaders in the field of health and wellbeing to debate the public health implications of loneliness.

Living with loneliness can be as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Yet nine Yorkshire local authorities fail to significantly mention it in the strategies devised by their health and wellbeing boards.

We are calling for change - and you can help by downloading and sending a letter to your local council on the Yorkshire Post website.

Among the speakers at the summit will be the Campaign to End Loneliness’s director Kate Jopling, who will speak on why loneliness and isolation matter.

Jack Neill-Hall, campaigns manager at the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “We’re hoping the summit will present an opportunity to create a network and consensus across the region on how to deal with loneliness.

“Our partnership with The Yorkshire Post is absolutely critical to get loneliness up the local agenda.”

Loneliness will also be addressed at the AKTIVE conference at the University of Leeds today and tomorrow, where technology will be touted as a possible solution to loneliness in older people.

Professor Sue Yeandle said: “Research shows that telecare – assistive devices such as personal alarms, GPS systems and monitoring sensors – really does make a difference to the lives of frail older people and those involved in their care. It can help them to retain independence, remain active in their communities and support them to manage household and personal tasks. But much more needs to be done to offer and develop these technologies.

“Our research also shows that loneliness is still a significant problem for frail older people. Helping them to connect with others through technology is vital, and a major challenge.”

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