Approximately 10% of people over the age of 65 are lonely all or most of the time, with rates rising to 50% amongst those over 80. Loneliness has a negative impact on the health of older people and may even lead to premature deaths for the loneliest.
Little is known about how loneliness and social isolation is experienced by Maori, Pacific and Asian older peoples who make up an increasing number of New Zealand’s aging population. Research is insufficient on efficiency of the existing volunteer and befriending services in NZ.
Age Concern is collaborating on this project is to look at how their Accredited Visiting Service can better meet the needs of NZ’s multi-cultural population.
The project has the potential to make an important scientific contribution to the understanding of social isolation of older people’s health and wellbeing, ensuring that the findings have an immediate impact upon the lives of older New Zealanders.