Social isolation in older people has emerged as a key health and social issue and can have a similar negative impact on the health of older people to that of smoking, high blood pressure or obesity.
The number of New Zealanders aged over 65 is rapidly increasing. This group of people will live differently and have different expectations of support services than today’s older people. This will have an enormous impact on our health and social care policy, services and programmes. They are already struggling to cope with a greater number of people living longer than ever before, and there is increasing conversation that the way we support older people needs to change.
In September 2017 we made the decision to embark on a five-month plan to initiate the project without external funding. The project is called Generations.
What are we doing?
In September 2017 we made the decision to embark on a five-month plan to initiate the project without external funding. We can call this phase one and it will present potential partners with more tangible directions of travel for the project, and to leverage the activities undertaken during this initial phase to generate interest and awareness.
In mid- January 2018, the Generations co-design group came together for an intensive three-day ‘discovery sprint’ with the aim to develop a deeper understanding of what helps older people to live happier, more connected lives and to identify barriers and opportunities to building social connectedness.
Using questions developed following a targeted review of the literature, co-designers spent a day visiting older adults throughout Auckland to learn more about their experiences and perspectives.
We will then develop insights from what we heard in these conversation. In February we will gather again to refine the insights; further define challenges and identify the greatest opportunities to develop solutions that will create change.
In March 2018 we will share our learning and the opportunities for impact at events in Auckland and Wellington. We’ll be looking to formalise partnerships to continue developing the areas for impact into specific ideas at this point.
Generations Website - www.generations.co.nz
The work that we're doing as part of Generations aims to build the social connectedness of older people and reduce social isolation. The solutions that come out of the process have the opportunity to create lasting positive change for older people's lives.