Loneliness affects all of us from time to time. However, for many older people, loneliness is part of their daily life.
Many older people have said they felt lonelier during the festive season, but loneliness is not just for Christmas. Age UK has estimated that over 2 million people aged over 75 in the UK live alone. With over half of them reporting that they have gone for as long as a month without speaking to friends, family or neighbours.
What are the signs of Loneliness?
We can’t assume that someone is lonely just because they live alone or enjoy their own company. However, it’s good to know how to spot the signs that someone might be struggling with loneliness. Age UK has suggested a few signs to keep an eye out for:
- A significant change in routine, such as getting up later
- Neglecting their personal hygiene or appearance
- Not eating properly
- Talking about feeling worthless, or not communicated as much as they used to.
Social isolation is used to describe a lack of social contact. Many of us have experienced social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are familiar with the effects it can have on our mental and physical health. Social isolation can be caused by a variety of factors such as;
- Loss of mobility
- Health issues
- Loss of a significant other
- Money struggles
Prolonged social isolation can lead to loneliness, which can impact your health. Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety and depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death.
How you can help someone who is suffering from loneliness
The smallest of acts of kindness can make a difference; smiling at someone as you pass them in the street, having a short conversation whilst waiting in a queue or posting a Christmas card to a neighbour can make a huge difference.
Letting people in your life know you are there for them is important. For some people, they don’t want to be a burden on others and will allow pride to get in the way before they discuss how they are feeling, so letting them know you are there if they need to open up to someone, can help with the first steps to feeling less lonely.
Invite someone to join you for festive-themed activities. Visiting a local market, attending a carol concert, writing out cards together or simply enjoying a mince pie together can help someone feel more festive whilst being around loved ones.
Why not become a Home Care Assistant and help the people in your community with companionship services? You can view our current vacancies by visiting our careers page here.
We’re here to help
At Heritage Healthcare, we provide care and support in the homes of our clients so they can continue being comfortable and independent. Not only do we deliver services such as personal care, domestic help, dementia support, live-in care and end-of-life care, but our professional team also provide companionship to our clients to help stop them from feeling lonely. They are there to have a catch-up, take clients out into the community to visit friends or visit the local shops, and help in any way they can.
If you would like to find out more about how Heritage Healthcare can help you and your loved ones, please get in touch with our team through your preferred contact method here.
Alternatively, you can read more about the services we provide by clicking here.