Do you have a relative, friend or neighbour who is struggling with loneliness? Have the pandemic lockdowns led to social isolation and loneliness of your loved one?
Or are you living alone and feeling cut off from others? Is loneliness impacting your wellbeing? Could you or your loved one benefit from companionship? If so, read on!
In this blog, we outline the impact of loneliness in seniors and discuss how companionship can combat loneliness.
Seniors And Loneliness
Loneliness is, unfortunately, particularly common amongst seniors. Many elderly people live alone, often cut off from friends and family due to no longer being able to get out.
Studies carried out by Age UK found that more than 2 million elderly people (over 75) live alone. Worse still, over a million of these people said they often go over a month without speaking to a loved one, friend or neighbour.
There are various reasons why people become socially isolated and lonely. These range from the death of a spouse to disability or illness. Plus, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for those living alone to visit family and friends.
The Impact Of Loneliness
Although it is avoidable, loneliness is an ever-present problem that can have a serious impact on yours or your relative’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Here are just a handful of physical and mental health impacts of loneliness in seniors:
- Loneliness can increase the risk of high blood pressure and is associated with an increased risk of strokes and coronary heart diseases
- Loneliness can affect sleep quality and energy levels
- Loneliness can increase the risk of dementia, cognitive decline and depression
- Loneliness can lead to unhealthy habits, such as inactivity and smoking
- Lonely individuals often have low self-esteem and can struggle to cope
- Senior individuals living alone are 50% more likely to require emergency services
- Loneliness has been linked to premature death
COVID-19 And Loneliness
Unfortunately, the number of seniors battling loneliness has increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lockdowns, tight restrictions and instructions for vulnerable people to “shield” has led to many people going months without seeing their family or friends. For those living alone, the COVID-19 restrictions have been particularly challenging.
“Support Bubbles” have been advised to combat loneliness, social isolation and mental health issues. However, for those who are vulnerable, joining a support bubble could put their health at risk.
Although loved ones cannot visit each other, caring professionals can continue to visit the home of you or your loved one – as outlined in government guidance here.
The Benefits Of Companionship
Thankfully, there are many ways in which we can combat loneliness, even throughout the ongoing pandemic. And companionship, is without a doubt, one of the best ways to combat loneliness.
Companionship and engaging in positive conversations can encourage mental health stimulation in seniors. It can also provide individuals with an increased sense of purpose and increase their confidence and self-esteem.
Individuals are also more likely to feel less stressed if they have regular companionship. Plus, they will maintain key skills, such as social skills.
Something as small as a chat over a cup of tea can make the world of difference from someone who is battling loneliness. At Red Rose Care, companionship comes as standard with every one of our services. Our carers don’t rush out to get to their next job. They spend time getting to know each individual.
If your relative or friend doesn’t need care but would benefit from companionship, we can be of assistance. Nothing is too much trouble. Providing company to you or your loved one would be our pleasure.
Additional Ways To Combat Loneliness
Aside from companionship, there are additional ways to combat loneliness. If you or your loved one is currently feeling lonely, perhaps try:
- Joining an online group that focuses on a hobby or interest. For example, a virtual book club or online exercise class.
- Set up Skype, Zoom or Facetime and enjoy regular video calls with family and friends.
- Reconnect with an old friend. Social media can be great for finding and reconnecting with old friends.
- Go for a walk in a public space, such as the local park.
Get In Touch With Red Rose Care
Red Rose Care, based in Preston, Lancashire, is a small family business in every sense of the word. We offer nurse-led, high-quality care and companionship in the comfort of your own home.
Our dedicated team provide you and your family with safe, effective and friendly ‘person-centred’ care and home help. Our range of services includes Personal Care, Palliative Care, Dementia Care, Domestic Assistance, Overnight Stays, Live-In Care, Complex Cases and of course, Companionship.
If you have a relative or friend that you feel could benefit from companionship or care, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, if you are currently living alone and would like companionship and a helping hand around the home, please get in touch with us.