Social isolation and older men: meeting the need?
Dr Paula Devine (QUB)
In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, there has been a growing recognition of the needs of older people within a range of policies and strategies. Within these, the prioritisation of social inclusion for older people acknowledges that social inclusion and active ageing have strong links to health and well-being. At the same time, men’s health is a growing concern internationally. Social isolation, loneliness and depression are increasingly identified as major issues for men throughout the life course. Men often have less involvement in support and friendship networks than women do. Alongside this, service provision has been criticised for being ‘feminised’. This presentation - jointly presented by The Men’s Working Group and researchers from Queen’s University - outlines a recent review of services for socially-isolated older men aged 50 years or over living in Belfast. The introduction explores the impact of social isolation on men’s mental and physical health. Key findings from an audit of current service provision aimed at this group are highlighted, followed by case studies of individual service members. This followed by an assessment of how these services are meeting current levels of need, and ways in which they may be developed to meet future requirements.