Mapping Isolation and Loneliness of Older People in Belfast


Researchers from the School of the Natural and Built Environment have been working with the Belfast’s Healthy Strategic Partnership (HASP) to map the risk factors that can pre-dispose older people to become lonely and socially isolated, which has major implications for their health and well-being, including mental health, malnutrition, cognitive decline and other conditions. Sara Ferguson and Prof Geraint Ellis have mapped a range of socio-demographic data including  single-person households access to a car, area deprivation, and health issues such as disability and combined this with lifestyle data drawn from the CACI Acorn Segmentation Tool. This has allowed the identification of areas in Belfast where older people at most risk of social isolation and loneliness and which are likely to contain the most vulnerable households. This highlights pockets of risk right across the city, in suburbs and in inner city areas, with areas in north and west Belfast having the most acute risk, particularly the Super Outputs Areas Crumlin (1), Shankill (1,2) and Woodvale (2, 3).  These maps provide an initial picture of the extent and distribution of the challenges of social isolation and therefore allows appropriate interventions, such as befriending scheme or other forms of social support to be targeted in the areas of greatest need.   For the full report click here: ISOLATION PDF

For more information, contact Sara Ferguson:

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