Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to loss of friends and family, mobility and income.
Within the Annual Population Survey carried out by the Office of National Statistics, information is collected around wellbeing. One element of this looks at the extent to which people feel the things they do in their life are worthwhile. A scale from 0-10 is used, where 0 is ‘not at all worthwhile’ and 10 is ‘completely worthwhile’. In 2013-14 across Devon overall the score is 7.78, and by local authority the scores range between 7.46 in Torridge and 7.97 in East Devon. A score of between 7 and 8 on the scale is considered high and therefore feelings of life being worthwhile are higher across Devon compared to the national profile.
The Adult Social Care Survey in England reports on the proportion of adult social care users and carers who report having as much social contact as they would like. In 2013-14 across Devon, the 47.5% of adult social care users and 42.6% of adult carers reported they had as much social contact as they would like. These proportions are statistically similar to the national average.
Devon County Council are currently using a range of data and undertaking modelling to produce an overall likelihood of isolation. This is being looked at by a very low geographical level to enable small pockets of potential isolation to be identified.
Statistics on internet use in the UK in 2015 (http://visual.ons.gov.uk/internet-use/) reveal that whilst usage is increasing, 10% of males, and 13% of females have never used the internet. This increases with age, with 61% of those aged 75 and over having never used the internet. Regular use of the internet in Devon increased from 84% in 2013 to 86% in 2015.