13 May 2022

How MHA supports older people at risk of loneliness and isolation

“Being members and part of this group has encouraged us to be part of things again following the isolation of the past 2 years.”

 

Our partner charity, MHA, supports 18,000 older people across the UK every day. As the only national care provider to offer connected care and support through specialist care homes, retirement living and community groups, MHA is a leading light in later life care. Jonathan Mace, Director of Communities for MHA, explains how mental health and wellbeing has been a priority during the pandemic.

When face-to-face MHA Communities (formerly MHA Live at Home) meetings weren’t possible during the pandemic, we sadly saw a decline in the wellbeing of our members.

But this also led to an opportunity for MHA to reach even more older people at risk of loneliness and isolation. We developed Digital Communities, a virtual community created for people aged 55 and over.

This online community is designed to support people feeling isolated or lonely within their own home through a variety of activities promoting social inclusion. Activities include arts and craft, advice around looking after your health, and wellbeing as you get older. 

Over the past year the team has created more than 300 pieces of video content, totalling over 200 hours. We have had over 6,000 views on YouTube alone and featured in the social media feeds of more than 47,000 people. 

This all goes to back up the more traditional face-to-face activities which have been running for a little while now, as well as the continuing befriending services to support older people.

And you don’t just have to take MHA’s word for how activities provided by its Communities services can help people. There is research to back this up.

Over in MHA Communities North Staffordshire, evaluation of the Better Together project with Father Hudson’s Care to expand services in the area showed over 70% of members felt less lonely and isolated and 22 new social groups were set up during the four years of the project. Additionally, over 80% of volunteers felt they had been able to make a difference through their volunteering. 

 

And in the words of some of our members:

 “During Covid it was a wonderful boost to receive a phone call or a surprise pack of puzzles etc. Those kept me from feeling too isolated.”

“Being members and part of this group has encouraged us to be part of things again following the isolation of the past 2 years.”

“Before finding MHA I was depressed, lonely and only went shopping once a week; now I am out all the time. I love being a member.”

 

To find out more about how MHA Communities could help you or someone you know, go to www.mha.org.uk/communities

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