Loneliness Awareness Week: Supporting Older People with Loneliness

This week is Loneliness Awareness Week 2021 (14-18 June), where people and organisations join together to raise awareness around loneliness.

Loneliness is something that can affect any one of us at any point in our lives, and this has become something even more of us have had to deal with over the last year.

With social distancing restrictions steadily lifting, Loneliness Awareness Week continues to be as important as ever; not just as a reminder that many people will continue to struggle with loneliness and isolation after lockdown, but also to reinforce the importance of social connections.

According to recent research carried out by Age UK, there are over 1.4 million chronically lonely older people living in England. These feelings of loneliness can be damaging to our health, with studies showing it can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

It’s therefore vital that we support those around us who may be feeling lonely as best we can.

If you’re worried about your loved one, there are plenty of ways in which you can help. Below, we have put together some tips towards combating loneliness in the elderly:

Have a cup of tea and catch up together

The British ‘cure all’ cup of tea certainly has its place here on this list! Inviting an elderly person or elderly loved one around for a cup of tea is a natural, easy method to get them in contact with other people.

Few people fail to appreciate the invitation, and it’s very flexible in what it can involve. It can be anything from a simple natter over brewed-in-the-mug beverages, to something as formal as afternoon tea out, COVID-19 permitting of course.

Encouraging the elderly to share their thoughts and feelings can help them to feel less alone and more at ease. If you aren’t able to pop over, check in with by giving them a ring every few days.

Enjoying a good belly laugh can also help to reduce stress during these tough times.  A good sense of humour can go a long way in reducing stress levels for us all. As they say, laughter is the best medicine!

Connecting Digitally

Thanks to the power of technology, we are better able to stay connected with each other remotely. One of the best examples of this is through video calling. There are many popular platforms to do this, such as Skype or Zoom where you can connect with your relatives on a visual level – which is sometimes better than simply giving them a call on the phone.

At Churchfields care home, we have utilised technology to enable our residents to speak to their loved ones regularly. Enabling our residents to see a loved one virtually has had huge beneficial effects to our residents’ mental and emotional wellbeing, and we are so proud to be able to make this part of our daily schedule.

Clubs or community groups

Start locally, and see if you can find clubs or community groups that may be of interest to the elderly person. Local community centres are often a good place to look as they frequently host craft groups and meetups. Day centres could also be an excellent route to go down. Here, you can meet others, enjoy a range of activities, and even benefit from day trips.

Befriending services

There are also plenty of befriending services available. For example, both Age UK (0800 055 6112) and Independent Age (0800 319 6789) offer regular befriending calls. The Silver Line (0800 470 8090) also provide befriending calls, alongside a safe space to discuss how they’re feeling.

Support from care homes

In some instances, loneliness can be a sign that a person may need more support which can be accessed through care homes. Those living in a care home will be able to access all of the support they need to live comfortably and healthily, while also being able to access a community in which they can socialise and bond.

Churchfields Care Home is dedicated to going above and beyond in ensuring residents feel happy and content. Our team host regular activities which give the opportunity for connecting with others, and our carers spend one-on-one time with everyone to ensure they feel cared for and supported.

If you’d like to hear more about our Cassington-based home, our team would love to speak to you. To contact us, call 01865 881440, and keep up to date with the latest news on our Facebook page.

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