For many of us, the festive season is a time of celebration spent with family and friends. However, it also highlights the issue of loneliness that is affecting the older generation. Elderly loneliness is not just for Christmas; hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled people are lonely and cut off from society.
Age UK has reported that more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone. The majority of them reported having gone for over a month without speaking to friends, family or even neighbours. Many elderly people within our community struggle with loneliness and can feel socially isolated for a variety of reasons. The festive season can be a particularly difficult time for those who have developed an illness, disability, lost spouses or friends.
What is loneliness?
There is a difference between loneliness and social isolation. Loneliness is the feeling of not meeting the desired levels of social contact, whilst social isolation is a measure of the amount of time people spend without interacting with other people.
People aged over 50 years old are more likely to feel lonely and isolated if they don’t have someone to open up to, if they are widowed, suffer from poor health or don’t feel they belong within their neighbourhood. This can have a huge effect on health; research has found loneliness is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
This December, we have relaunched our Combating Elderly Loneliness campaign and will be sharing information and advice on how you can support someone within your community. Our goal is to raise awareness of elderly loneliness and bring people together.
At Heritage Healthcare, we are providers of home care and support services to help people continue living at home for longer. Our companionship service aims to stop our clients from feeling lonely and reassures them that a friendly, trusted face will be popping in to visit them.
To find out more about our companionship service as well as the other services we provide, please click here.
If you are looking for a new opportunity to support people in your local area, we are recruiting Home Carers to be part of our team! Click here to find out more about our current vacancies.