Why this story matters:
Government officials will carry out annual visits to determine whether Dutch citizens above 75 years of age are living in isolation, and provide assistance whenever necessary.
The Netherlands is emerging as a pioneer in the fight against loneliness.
In the past years, nursing homes have opened their doors to university students, allowing their elderly residents to come into contact with the younger generation and even move in together. A mini documentary released in 2016 pulled at the nation’s heartstrings when it showed six university students who happily lived rent-free in an Amsterdam retirement home called Humanitas.
With more and more research available on the negative health effects of loneliness, the urgency to tackle the problem rises. A sizeable part of our society lives in destructive isolation, and it is high time to reintegrate them, whether in the Netherlands or elsewhere.
Details from the story:
- The Dutch Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge has decided to set aside 26 million euros to alleviate loneliness among the country’s elderly population
- According to research carried out by the ministry, 700,000 elderly people in the Netherlands feel lonely, and this number is expected to skyrocket to 1.1 million by 2030.
- Europe is seeing more and more government initiatives meant to tackle the devastating effects of loneliness.
- The UK recently appointed a minister for loneliness.
- More than 9 million people in the UK suffer from loneliness on a daily basis.