08/03/2023 New evidence on social prescribing for older people

An older man and woman sit on a sofa and chat.
Social prescribing can help support older people with poverty

We have published new evidence about how social prescribing could support older people living in poverty. The review, commissioned in partnership with Independent Age, and delivered by NASP’s academic collaborative, suggests that:

  • There are five main ways in which social prescribing currently supports older people in poverty: helping ensure people have enough food; tackling fuel poverty; supporting financial management; supporting digital inclusion; supporting social vulnerability.
  • A range of approaches have been identified, including education and training, community-based approaches, financial advice, and changes to the home environment, including the use of new technologies.
  • Key enablers of social prescribing to support older people living in poverty include developing peer training and supportive relationships, particularly around the use of educational and training approaches, or support to use new technologies; offering information, advice and guidance; multi-agency and local co-ordination; and developing trust through co-designed and co-produced services.

The key barriers to supporting older people living in poverty through social prescribing included: stigma and embarrassment felt by some older people around financial problems and the accessibility of interventions, for example through lack of transport infrastructure.

Also published is a summary of findings from a questionnaire about social prescribing for older people. This questionnaire was undertaken by NASP, in partnership with Independent Age, and explored some of the enablers, barriers, gaps and opportunities relating to social prescribing for older people.

“Social prescribing can play a hugely important role for many older people, but it is too often those who are most isolated within our society who miss out. That’s why we commissioned an evidence review to establish what’s working well, and what needs to change, with a particular focus on older people experiencing poverty and financial hardship.

“This evidence and these findings will underpin our next phase of pilot projects, engaging older people directly to develop approaches that respond to their needs.

“We hope that this work will enable us to support more older people through social prescribing, helping to address health inequalities and making provision more diverse, accessible and inclusive.”
Dr Emily Cousins
NASP’s National Lead for Older People


opens in new window