The Office for National Statistics recently published its 2017 report which reveals the positive news that the general quality of wellbeing in the UK is rising. This is reflected in the findings that ‘average ratings of happiness and feeling that the things done in life are worthwhile have slightly increased’. Feelings of life satisfaction; that things in life are worthwhile and happiness are all very high, while anxiety is very low. Interestingly, mental health wellbeing was rated only average.
Regarding relationships, 5.4% of people reported feelings of loneliness which shows no improvement. Furthermore, fewer people feel as though they have someone to rely on, in serious circumstances. Thankfully, satisfaction with leisure time has increased, as have feelings of belonging to one’s neighbourhood.
In general, these findings show that as a nation, we are getting better at feeling better. However, we still have further to go. Fighting loneliness has become a priority, what with new, Minister for Loneliness, MP Tracey Crouch being appointed. However, there is still plenty we can do, in the grass roots of our communities, to tackle the issue.
Ageing Better in Birmingham’s social groups have helped participants to contribute to their community, to get out of the house to socialise and to boost their feelings of mental well-being. 32% of people involved in Ageing Better in Birmingham have reported a reduction in loneliness and 22% have reported that they feel less isolated. Furthermore, there has been a 39% reduction in loneliness among the ‘loneliest’ participants. Encouragingly, 63% of participants have reported an improvement in their wellbeing.
These results show that a community-led focus to tackling isolation is working and with this in mind, hopefully we’ll see those UK wide figures rise.
Some quotations from Ageing Better in Birmingham participants:
‘I forget everything, my old worries, when I come here.’
‘If I’ve got things in my diary that I’m going out to go and do, then there’s less time for sitting down and vegetating, so it’s much better for me.’
‘We have had [Ageing Better] Groups who have taken a group of individuals out for the day and it’s been such a success that those inidivudals have arranged something themselves.’
We encourage everyone to get involved with their local community to help lead a change, and help Make Birmingham A Better Place To Grow Older!