Loneliness Awareness Week – Loneliness and the elderly

Hosted by Marmalade Trust, the week-long campaign raises awareness of loneliness and strives to get people talking about it.

According to Age UK, recent research has found that there is around “1.4m chronically lonely older people in England and many more across the rest of the UK”.  That feeling of loneliness can be almost as dangerous to our health as smoking around 15 cigarettes per day. It’s crucial that we take the time to understand how those feelings of loneliness can impact our nearest and dearest.

It is within our basic human instincts to want and need contact with other people. For the elderly, loneliness is also a leading cause of mental health with isolation and mental well-being frequently linked

Main causes of loneliness

At Crouched Friars, we know for older people the distance between friends and family can be a leading cause for loneliness. While social distancing has made connecting harder this past year, other factors can come into play. For example, family members may have other commitments such as work, and with retirement adding more hours to the day, an emotional distance can also develop.

Health conditions can also make it hard to meet up, and communication can become a struggle. As we grow older, elderly people tend to become more vulnerable making mobility more challenging than before.

Identifying loneliness in the elderly

As specialists in residential and dementia care, we understand how important it is to identify and prevent loneliness.

Feelings of loneliness can stem from a range of causes, so it’s crucial that we can identify them and offer as much help as we can. While the signs can be hard to identify, there are some key indicators to be aware of.

When talking to a loved whether that be in person or over the phone, pay attention to what they’re saying. People who feel lonely tend to talk a lot more, while others drop subtle hints that they would like to talk to others.

When feeling lonely, there are a few behavioural changes that can become apparent. Some isolated individuals are known to begin to act more extroverted. Others find themselves acting out of character during social interactions.

How to help elderly individuals who are feeling lonely

Now COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease, we recommend checking out the local area and see if anything is happening. Many community centres host meeting groups and activity sessions that could also be a good option as they deliver the opportunity to meet like-minded people.

Here at Crouched Friars, we regularly host a range of activities to improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness. Some of our resident’s favourite activities have recently been playing board games, getting outside in our gardens and even playing with our staff members visiting pets.

As a home that puts high-quality care at the heart of everything, we encourage all our residents to participate in different exercises and experiences that can support them.

Using technology within our homes, we were able to ease the loneliness by connecting residents virtually with their loved ones.

If your loved ones are still struggling, providing a list of helplines is a good way to help.

  • Age UK (0800 055 6112) and Independent Age (0800 319 6789) both offer befriending phone calls regularly.
  • The Silver Line (0800 470 8090) also provide befriending. This is alongside a supportive environment for people to talk about their feelings.

Situated in the heart of Colchester, Crouched Friars Residential Home supports a small community of 55 residents. We provide both physical and mental stimulation for those with residential and dementia needs including our own dementia care wing. We are still welcoming new residents and have clear policies in place to be able to do this safely.

 

As restrictions are gradually easing, we can now welcome multiple loved ones back into our home. Visits from friends and family truly lift our resident’s mood, especially in these difficult times.

For information and guidance on how to book a visit, please read our blog here or call our friendly team on 01206 572647.

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