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Nurseries could be attached to housing developments for elderly people as part of efforts to reduce loneliness in Scotland, according to the nation’s first strategy on social isolation.
The two-year plan, which is backed by £1m of government funding, says the idea will be piloted alongside other “innovative housing solutions” to tackle loneliness among the elderly.
The document highlights a project involving a nursery in Elgin, Moray, as a good example of an “intergenerational” solution to the problem of social isolation.
Linkwood View, a 32-home social housing development in the town, gave part of its gardens to a neighbouring nursery so children could use the open space to play and grow their own plants.
“Not only has this assisted with outdoor educational activity for the children, it has fostered an intergenerational understanding between the residents and the nursery children,” it says.
Scotland is one of the first countries in the world to develop a national strategy on loneliness, which ministers believe should be treated as a public health issue.
A survey of almost 500 people carried out by the Scottish Health Council last year estimated that around 1 in 10 people in Scotland “often” feel lonely.
The problem is particularly prevalent among older people, with the Mental Health Foundation warning that up to 120,000 over-65s could have undiagnosed depression as a result.