University and charity group link up to tackle social isolation amongst the elderly

University news / Research news

Wednesday 15 May 2013

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Coventry University is joining forces with a national charity for the elderly to set up a new social network for older people in the city.

The University’s Age Research Centre (ARC) in conjunction with the GrumbleSmiles Trust is hosting an information day about the new project in Coventry on Friday 24 May.

The free event, which is aimed at people aged 50 and over, will give them the opportunity to talk about their experiences and to voice their views on the proposed network, which aims to tackle social isolation amongst the elderly.

The University’s Age Research Centre works with policy makers, charitable groups and other interested parties to improve the lives of older residents and this joint endeavour with GrumbleSmiles marks a further step along the way in helping to establish Coventry as an age friendly city.

Dr Christine Broughan, Research Director at Coventry University, said:

Local figures suggest that some 21% of older people in Coventry are troubled by feelings of loneliness or isolation with a similar percentage being dismayed by not feeling useful or productive.
Loneliness is linked to poor physical health and that’s particularly acute amongst the elderly where it’s also associated with cognitive decline.

With the number of older people in Coventry set to rise over the next 20 years that’s something that we need to tackle and we need to think of ways to make the city a better place for elderly people to live happy and fulfilling lives.

We’re hoping our project will encourage older people to connect and help each other to become involved in events and activities. Our open day will be an informal occasion at which older people will have the opportunity to meet new friends and where we hope to get a better understanding of their experience of living in Coventry.

GrumbleSmiles Trust will be providing a free buffet lunch and free car parking is also available, although attendees are encouraged to car share or take public transport if possible.