U.K. Appoints a Minister of Loneliness
Here in the U.S. those in the aging industry acknowledge that loneliness is a health risk as severe as any other that older Americans are facing today – even a deadly one. Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a “rising health epidemic.” Not surprisingly other countries are coming to the same conclusion. In Britain, Prime Minister Teresa May has appointed a Minister of Loneliness in response to a report published last year from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which found that around 14 percent of Britain’s population suffers from loneliness.
The Minister of Loneliness will lead a governmentwide group in establishing policies on the issue, while the office of National Statistics will help establish a method for measuring loneliness, along with a fund to assist the government and charities with ongoing strategies to identify opportunities that tackle loneliness.
Newly appointed Minister Tracey Crouch “aims to publish ‘some early bones of a strategy’ in early fall. But loneliness, with a multitude of causes and effects, requires equally broad solutions. It could be a while before programs are set in motion and results are seen.” Thus far Swedish and Canadian lawmakers have expressed interest in working with Crouch to address isolation and loneliness in their countries.
No doubt the U.S. could benefit from a Minister of Loneliness.
NAIPC will be following the Minister’s work closely and reporting back to you with updates.
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