Older people's isolation poses major challenge to NHS this winter
Public is urged to check on older friends and neighbours
Helping older people over the winter could relieve pressure on NHS services, says NHS England's director for acute care.
Keith Willett, who is leading an urgent and emergency care review, said older people are the largest population group admitted to hospital in the winter.
He said: 'The fact a third of elderly people never or only occasionally socialise with family or friends is not only a sad indictment of the society we live in – the results of that social isolation present one of the biggest challenges to the NHS over the winter.'
Professor Willett explained that the public can watch for ill health in older friends and neighbours and encourage older people to seek help before problems escalate. He suggested people might offer to help with shopping, GP or pharmacy visits, and to collect medication.
The NHS is running a campaign called Stay Well This Winter. For information, click here.