On October 1st, International Day of Older Persons, the French organization Petits Frères des Pauvres published a report that sheds new light on the links between loneliness and isolation of seniors and territories.
The report reveals a human emergency: 4.6 million French people aged 60 and over feel lonely, 3.2 million of whom are at risk of social isolation.
The main lessons of the study are:
– A worrying risk of social isolation of the elderly in socially disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
– The phenomenon of social isolation is different in urban and rural areas.
– Urban isolation is more closely linked to weakened neighbourhood relations. The bigger is the agglomeration, the more intense the lack of solidarity is perceived. On the other hand, in rural areas, solidarity is stronger, but it is a lack of daily services and transport that is a factor of social isolation.
– Attachment to the local territory, increases with age.
– Maintaining local shops, public transport, health professionnals and better access to public space are essential elements in the fight against isolation.
In response to these findings, the organization makes 15 recommendations in order to better observe the isolation of elderly people in the territories, build solutions as close as possible to the territories, raise public awareness and encourage citizen engagement, promote housing solutions adapted to the territories such as intergenerational housing or temporary accommodation and finally improve the daily lives of elderly people in all territories, in particular by maintaining local shops, public services and transport.
The association hopes that the findings of this new report will enable the many actors who wish to contribute to a more inclusive society to better understand the characteristics that link social isolation and territories and to create solutions that are as relevant as possible to the experiences of our isolated and deprived elders.