Promoting social support and social networks among Irish pensioners in South London, UK

Cant, Bob and Taket, Ann 2005, Promoting social support and social networks among Irish pensioners in South London, UK, Diversity in health and care, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 263-270.

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Title Promoting social support and social networks among Irish pensioners in South London, UK
Author(s) Cant, Bob
Taket, AnnORCID iD for Taket, Ann
Journal name Diversity in health and care
Volume number 2
Issue number 4
Start page 263
End page 270
Total pages 8
Publisher Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication Abingdon, England
Publication date 2005-12
ISSN 1759-1422
Summary This paper explores the activities of an Irish-led voluntary sector project that sought to minimise social isolation and build social networks among Irish elderly people living in a socio-economically deprived borough in South London, UK. The study from which this paper is drawn aimed to explore the nature and extent of unmet mental health needs among Irish pensioners. Using a naturalistic and exploratory design, data were collected through 19 semi-structured interviews, observation of project activities and analysis of members' case files. The paper presents findings in relation to the significant themes that emerged from the data analysis, which used a grounded theory approach. It discusses the social support systems within the project and examines the ways in which they maintained the mental wellbeing of the projects' members and interconnected with other areas of the project's activities. The study's findings demonstrated that the project provided space for social interaction among otherwise isolated Irish pensioners, many of whom experienced multiple morbidity. The project worked successfully to overcome the sense of stigma that prevented many of its members accessing statutory services; it also identified needs among carers. There was an Irish cultural ambience at the project centre, which generated a sense of belonging among members, and assisted in the development of social networks. The project initiated other forms of social support through the use of volunteers and developed befriending and telephone support services. The project developed partnership working with other agencies, particularly community mental health services, in order to provide support to elderly people who might otherwise have been institutionalised. The project engaged with the cultural norms of this marginalised white minority ethnic community to promote both social interaction and social networks. It offered a model of good practice for agencies working with isolated elderly members of minority ethnic communities.
Language eng
Field of Research 111702 Aged Health Care
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, Radcliffe Publishing
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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