This month we have been discussing how companionship can prevent older people from feeling lonely and socially isolated.
Loneliness can affect everyone; over 9 million people in the UK across all adult ages are either always or often lonely, as reported by the Co-op and the British Red Cross. However, the health risks of loneliness can increase for the older generation.
No one should feel alone or isolated and at Heritage Healthcare Barnet, our companionship service reassures our clients and their loved ones that a friendly and trusted face will be visiting to keep them company.
Within our communities, many people may feel lonely or socially isolated without us realising. They could be our neighbours, relatives, friends or a stranger we pass in the street.
We have put together a few ideas for you to try to become a friend to someone in your community:
- Regularly visit a neighbour – if you know someone who lives close to you who may not be getting much social interaction as they should be, make time each week to pop in for a cuppa and have a catch-up. Take some treats with you for you both to enjoy or invite them to visit your home for a change of scenery.
- Start a conversation with a stranger – do you commute to work in the morning by public transport? Do you regular wait in queues as you buy your lunch or sit in a local coffee shop during your break? There might be someone in front of you or sitting close by who could do with a friendly chat. Reports have stated half a million older people don’t see or speak to another person for 5-6 days each week, so the few moments you can spare could make a huge impact on someone – even if it’s just about the weather!
- Host a local event – many people look forward to events within their local community and it’s a great opportunity for people to socialise with their neighbours and get to know new friends. A coffee morning, market or summer fate gets everyone in the community together.
- Launch a social group – for those who are retired, being out of the regular work routine can be strange, and in some cases difficult to adjust to. A weekly social group helps retired people, as well as everyone else, be part of a routine and enjoy an activity. It could be crafting, discussing books, learning about history, or learning a new language. Social groups bring like-minded people together from different backgrounds and help build new friendships.
- Become a carer – becoming a carer is rewarding; your job is to help local people feel comfortable within their own home and continue being independent. At Heritage Healthcare Barnet, we are always looking for compassionate people to join our care team and support clients with high-quality services. Find out more by visiting our careers page here.
The Campaign to End Loneliness aims to reduce the loneliness some older people feel by working with a range of organisations to provide high-quality services and activities, better use of the existing support and develop more services to support those affected by loneliness.
Below is there ‘Let’s Talk More’ film, which aims to get people talking and end loneliness.
To find out more about the Campaign to End Loneliness, please click here.