Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care


Together But Alone

The R&RA’s report on social isolation among older care home residents, following a two-year national survey completed in 2010.

People living in care homes without the support of family or friends may become invisible, and even more vulnerable and isolated, especially with the onset of incapacity and dementia. The R&RA wanted to know how many people were bereft in this way.  We found there was little available information so we carried out a study which the Department of Health agreed to fund.

Our survey cast much needed light on a neglected area.  It revealed many examples of good practice but we were left concerned about the risks to residents in less well run homes without families or friends to protect their interests, and the lack of a duty on anyone to take responsibility for them or even know who they are.

Key findings were that at least 4% of older people in care homes in England (a minmum of 13,000 people) were without kith or kin, and our follow-up revealed a much larger number left in care homes with no active family contact: as many as 40,000  older people with no external support or contact.  Yet neither central nor local government had strategies or guidelines in place to support this vulnerable group.


November 2010, 12 A4 pages. Publication price £8.00: R&RA members £6.00.



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