More than half of people using social care suffer with loneliness

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home during just one of the activites organised by the ho

Mia the Therapy Dog visits Ford Place Care Home during just one of the activites organised by the home to help tackle loneliness. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

More than half of people in Norfolk who receive social care feel lonely, new figures have revealed.

Ford Place Nursing Home in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt

Ford Place Nursing Home in Thetford. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

An NHS survey of 495 people using social care in Norfolk has found 292 -59pc- of them did not have as much contact as they wanted with people they like in 2017-18.

The survey questioned people over 18 receiving long-term support funded or managed by social services.

The majority of people who receive social care are elderly, but there are also younger adults with disabilities who receive care.

The percentage of people in Norfolk who wanted more contact was above the national average for England of 54pc.

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Nationally, more elderly people in the survey were affected by loneliness - 57pc of those over 75 compared with 41pc of the young adults between 25 and 34 years.

On average, 55pc of women wanted more company, compared with 52pc of men.

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Charities fighting against loneliness and for elderly people's rights have called on the Government to increase the funding for social care workers and community services.

Alison Charlesworth, home manager at Ford Place care home in Thetford said that the home -which is part of the Stow Healthcare group- do a number of things to help prevent loneliness including running a daily programme of activities.

'It's all about being a community, we bring young people in, we bring the community in, churches, schools we make sure that residents can access staff. 'There is someone around 24/7 even if people they don't want to come out of their rooms.'

In November 2016, Norfolk County Council launched the in Good Campaign to help tackle loneliness in the region, James Bullion, executive director of adult social services said: 'Loneliness is a big national problem, and in Norfolk it's estimated that more than 40,000 residents are lonely.

'We know that loneliness and social isolation can cause poor health and even lead to premature death. We also know that alleviating loneliness can help people lead independent, happier and healthier lives, for longer.

'That's why, we launched In Good Company – our county-wide campaign to tackle loneliness, with the aim of helping to ensure that no one spends a lonely day in Norfolk if they don't want to.'

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