20 January 2017

Loneliness: And how it can be minimised within the elderly

Loneliness is a feeling that many people will experience at least once in their lives, whether
it’s from being isolated at school, moving to university, becoming a stay at home parent, having mobility issues, bereavement or retiring. The feeling for many cannot be described easily, it is not only emotional but it can also affect overall physical and mental health.
Our outlook on life can also be affected, which then makes for a vicious circle, becoming ever more socially isolated and lonely.

The group to be most affected by loneliness is often older people; a mixture of retirement, loss of a partner, difficulties with independence & mobility and not living close to their family can make loneliness a sad inevitability. Research from Age UK indicates 200,000 older people in the UK have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month and 3.9 million agree their television is their main form of company. So what can be done to beat loneliness before it strikes?

Social activity

Social activity is important in all walks of life – it gives us the opportunity to talk, engage in hobbies and get out and about. Loneliness is often associated with social isolation so part of beating this issue can be found in the engagement with social activities. Dancing clubs, art and book groups, charity volunteering and befriending programmes are a great way to maintaining wellbeing whilst being social.

Knowing who can help

It can be difficult to get the ball rolling; knowing where to find clubs, the ability to access them and keeping the momentum going. But there are many organisations out there to help – British Red Cross run many local projects to help older people retain their independence and beat loneliness. Age UK is another great source of advice, guidance and local projects to help combat loneliness.

For those in care, accessing different clubs can be more difficult however, social activity can be promoted through clubs, entertainment and activities being brought to you. This is something that is seen at Altogether Care. Having an active social calendar within homes encourages social interaction, gives variance between the days and promotes wellbeing. Even if your loved one is coming to stay for a short period of respite care, we still encourage them to get involved with social activities which they may not get the chance to normally.

Nobody should feel alone when it can be so easily combatted.

Some recent day to day activities