The pandemic had a huge impact on the wellbeing of older adults, leading to high levels of loneliness and social isolation. In the post-pandemic period, many older adults still feel lonely and isolated, reporting feelings of anxiety about being in their community. Cafes and pubs are important social spaces where people come together to connect with others.
As UK high streets change from mainly retail-focused environments to places where there are increasing numbers of cafes, there is an opportunity to explore ways that many of these venues might be transformed into age-friendly spaces that could help reduce levels of loneliness and social isolation among older adults. To do this we will train, and work alongside older adult researchers who will help us collect and analyse data.
Our older adult researchers will ask older adults in their communities about how they use local café/pub socially. We will then use this information to work alongside older adults and café/pub managers to co-create resources that can be used by customers, hospitality businesses to help them become more age-friendly and facilitate social connections between others. These resources will be promoted and shared with cafes and pubs nationwide.