Meet the council combatting rural isolation in the elderly

A Scottish council has launched a new service dedicated to helping their elderly feel more connected

Stirling council in Scotland has launched a project to battle loneliness in older and vulnerable people.

LinkAge Stirling aims to reduce social isolation by helping people feel more connected with their communities.

Launched in North Rural Stirling, the pilot project will make use of the area’s high percentage of elderly residents – with one in five of the area’s population currently over the age of 65 and projections indicating this will rise to almost one in three by 2032.

With one of the longest drive and public transport times in Scotland to access key services such as GP surgeries, it’s hoped the project would meet challenges in the area, such as distance, health and mobility issues and combat loneliness and mental health problems in older people.

The council is set to introduce a LinkAge co-ordinator for area, who will assist people to access services and activities locally, help them to meet more people in their community, provide information and advice on the support available and help to build confidence and promote independence.

Social isolation can often have a detrimental effect on the lives of older members of our communities

Convenor of the social care and health committee and SNP councillor, Scott Farmer, said: “This project will help older people make connections that will improve their quality of life, while allowing them to remain within their own homes and communities.

“Social isolation can often have a detrimental effect on the lives of older members of our communities. An ageing population brings with it specific challenges that, as a council, we need to be ready to meet. We recognise that our older resident may require specific support and this project will help us achieve our aim of making the Stirling area a great place to grow older.”

In next week’s Big Issue, we look at Time to Talk Day, and explore social isolation among young farmers, as well as highlighting how one residential care home is keeping elderly minds active with the help of some local toddlers.