How Local Interventions Can Build Capacity to Address Social Isolation in Dispersed Rural Communities: A Case Study from Northern Ireland

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Abstract

The focus of this paper is on ageing and well-being in rural areas. Existing research has demonstrated the significance of social networks in relation to physical and emotional well-being. A lack of social interaction and erosion of social contacts have been identified as serious issues. In the United Kingdom, recent years have witnessed a plethora of strategies, initiatives and policy documents addressing the well-being of older people. This work has however been largely focused in urban areas with the needs, expectations and attitudes of older people living in rural areas the subject of relatively little research attention. The enduring image of the rural idyll conceals the reality of ageing in the countryside. This paper identifies the issues pertinent to these dispersed communities and reviews a locally-based active ageing group, which aims to build capacity and encourage community cohesion. The research highlights the importance of initiatives which build on and enhance the sense of community, while simultaneously challenging the assumption that older people are needy, dependant, avaricious users of services with little or nothing to contribute.
LanguageEnglish
JournalAgeing International
Volume35
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2010

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Northern Ireland
Social Isolation
Rural Population
rural community
social isolation
well-being
rural area
Research
community
social relations
Interpersonal Relations
group cohesion
Social Support
erosion
social network
urban area
lack
interaction
Group

Cite this

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abstract = "The focus of this paper is on ageing and well-being in rural areas. Existing research has demonstrated the significance of social networks in relation to physical and emotional well-being. A lack of social interaction and erosion of social contacts have been identified as serious issues. In the United Kingdom, recent years have witnessed a plethora of strategies, initiatives and policy documents addressing the well-being of older people. This work has however been largely focused in urban areas with the needs, expectations and attitudes of older people living in rural areas the subject of relatively little research attention. The enduring image of the rural idyll conceals the reality of ageing in the countryside. This paper identifies the issues pertinent to these dispersed communities and reviews a locally-based active ageing group, which aims to build capacity and encourage community cohesion. The research highlights the importance of initiatives which build on and enhance the sense of community, while simultaneously challenging the assumption that older people are needy, dependant, avaricious users of services with little or nothing to contribute.",
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AB - The focus of this paper is on ageing and well-being in rural areas. Existing research has demonstrated the significance of social networks in relation to physical and emotional well-being. A lack of social interaction and erosion of social contacts have been identified as serious issues. In the United Kingdom, recent years have witnessed a plethora of strategies, initiatives and policy documents addressing the well-being of older people. This work has however been largely focused in urban areas with the needs, expectations and attitudes of older people living in rural areas the subject of relatively little research attention. The enduring image of the rural idyll conceals the reality of ageing in the countryside. This paper identifies the issues pertinent to these dispersed communities and reviews a locally-based active ageing group, which aims to build capacity and encourage community cohesion. The research highlights the importance of initiatives which build on and enhance the sense of community, while simultaneously challenging the assumption that older people are needy, dependant, avaricious users of services with little or nothing to contribute.

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