Sunday, 21 July 2013 22:41

Rural elderly 'face social isolation'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Rural elderly 'face social isolation'

SOCIAL isolation is a fact of life for too many elderly people in the countryside, warns a report.

The unique characteristics of rural areas can bring additional challenges for older people, says the Age UK study.

These include low population densities and distance between residential and commercial centres.

Problems are compounded by higher living costs, housing that is hard to heat and maintain, poor transport links and more limited social networks.

Transport is a lifeline to older people living in rural areas, the study says.

"It connects them to family, friends and the community and enables access to health, social care and other key services.

"But rural transport has been badly hit by funding cuts, leading to reductions in scheduled bus services.

"These are having a detrimental effect on older people – particularly those with no private transport."

The report aims both to present these challenges and to showcase ways of overcoming them.

It draws on examples from local Age UK branches that have helped mobilise community effort to improve life for older people.

"Examples demonstrate how resourceful many rural communities are," says the report. "Across England they are finding their own solutions to local problems in ways that suit their unique needs and circumstances.

"There is a great opportunity for both rural and urban communities to learn from them.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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