Group joins isolation experiment
Published 19/06/2011 | 16:36
A group of people will become prisoners in their own homes with no human contact for a week as part of an unusual social experiment.
Each will live the life of an isolated older person with only the television for company and vision-impairing glasses to simulate the effects of physical ageing.
The 10 participants will record their feelings in a video diary and on one-way Twitter accounts.
Their experiences will be analysed by experts who specialise in the issues facing older people for the charity Friends of the Elderly.
Highlighting the "devastating" effects of isolation, including loneliness, depression, feelings of low self-worth, poor health and diet, the charity's CEO Richard Furze said: "It will be extremely interesting to see how the usually very socially active participants taking part in Friends of the Elderly's 'Isolation Week' will fare without communicating for a whole week, not only face to face but also through the many mediums such as smart phones and social networks that have become second nature to them.
"In our ageing society isolation will become more common, but we can all play a part in preventing vulnerable people from suffering its consequences."
Participants in the experiment will be confined to their homes from 9am on Monday until 12am next Monday.
Though they are permitted access to television, radio and the internet, they will not be allowed to have two-way conversations with people, either face-to-face, on the phone or online.
They will use glasses designed to impair eyesight temporarily and gloves which create the effect of restricted movement.
According to Friends of the Elderly, more than one million older people in the UK live "isolated and lonely" lives, a million more feel "trapped" in their own homes and one in five older people see others less than once a week.