Over recent years the issues of loneliness and isolation amongst older and younger people in our rapidly changing cities have become better understood.
Loneliness has been shown to be as bad for people's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and can bring on strokes, heart attacks and dementia.
Two in five older people – two in five – say the TV is their main form of company. 17% see friends of family less than once a week; 11% less than once a month. And one in ten GP appointments is made by an older person with no other condition than that they're lonely.
But loneliness is not just a later life problem.
On the contrary – while people over 75 are the loneliest age group in the UK, the second and third loneliest are people between 21 and 25 and 25 and 35.
That's why we believe that older and younger neighbours have so much to gain from one another in shared time, laughter, new experiences and friendship. And it's why we believe the Cares model is so important – because it works.
Two major evaluations over the past three years have demonstrated the impact of this model. The first evaluation of the Cares approach, published in 2014, showed that of older people participating in activities regularly:
That first evaluation also showed that our model works because it is targeted at the people most likely to benefit, including:
Crucially, the younger volunteers who are part of the Cares Family benefit too:
A second evaluation of our model in 2016 underscored these outcomes, with older neighbours reporting that over time they feel they: