(CNN)One English police department is trying a new, creative way to tackle isolation and loneliness among elderly people. Starting with a simple bench.
The Avon and Somerset Police Department set up "chat benches" in two local parks in southwest England meant to spark conversation between residents. The benches feature a friendly sign that reads, "Sit here if you don't mind someone stopping to say hello!"
According to the police department, 17% of elderly adults in the United Kingdom speak with friends, family and neighbors less than once a week. The police say infrequent contact with friendly faces can leave them more vulnerable to crimes targeting older people, like doorstep crime, fraud and online or telephone scams.
"The sign simply helps