Lincolnshire’s adult care chief has called on people to check in on their isolated and vulnerable neighbours in an effort to tackle loneliness.
Glen Garrod, director of adult care at the county council, said being aware of people with conditions such as dementia can help to improve quality of life for those people.
Mr Garrod added that anything from putting a neighbour’s bin out or checking in on them can help people feel less isolated.
In Lincolnshire, 61,168 people over the age of 65 are living alone and at potential risk of loneliness and isolation.
Of that number, 14,409 are in the East Lindsey region alone.
Meanwhile, researchers at the London School of Economics estimated that, for a decade of an older person’s life, loneliness costs an extra £6,000 per person.
A green paper outlining the government’s plans for the future of adult care is expected to be published later this year.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock MP, said the plan will include measures to tackle loneliness and “help older people live healthier, longer, and more independent lives”.
But Mr Garrod said there is more that can be done to improve a person’s quality of life that does not rely on the state.
“It’s not just altruism,” he said.
“I think it is genuinely a marker of a good society when people look after their neighbour.
“It might be taking the dustbin down to the bottom of the drive, cutting a hedge or looking out for someone to make sure that there are not lots of milk bottles piling up.”
He added that it’s also important that people are aware of those with dementia or learning disabilities when they are out in the community.
“I think it’s important that we are aware that some people’s behaviour is different to our own,” he said.
“Whether you have dementia, autism or learning disabilities, people’s attitude or response can either help or hinder those people.”
Mr Garrod added that the move is about “contributing to a healthier community” and making sure people do not feel isolated.
Meanwhile, the government’s plan for the future of adult social care, which has been delayed four times, is expected to be published in the Spring.
The upcoming green paper will indicate central government’s intentions for the sector, including how to fund services in the future.
Mr Garrod previously called for people to be given more control over their own budgets, as well as giving local authority’s greater oversight over both health and social care.
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