How Loneliness and Isolation Affects the Elderly

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Loneliness is a serious issue so it’s important to understand how it effects vulnerable groups and what we can all do to help our loved ones and the elderly in society. Here we will look at this in detail and we will take you through how we play our part to combat loneliness at Promedica24 through our live-in care services.

Naturally, as life progresses and we age, we lose friends, family and others that we care deeply about. For some, this results in loneliness in a physical sense, a feeling that can compound and lead to health problems if left unaddressed.

In the worst cases, loneliness can lead to suicidal thoughts and tendencies borne out of a growing level of depression. The danger is someone becoming so used to loneliness being a part of life that they give up trying to find new ways to socialise and enjoy their golden years. The good news is there’s an abundance of organisations that offer a wide range of activities aimed at helping to relieve loneliness in the elderly.

Age UK and other charities create events within communities and have various ongoing initiatives that all help the elderly ease their suffering from loneliness. It’s important to help people find their purpose again and live out their lives as happily as possible.

The severe impact of loneliness on the elderly

To underline the importance of combatting loneliness in the elderly we need to look at some figures.

Last year, The Telegraph reported on a study by Copenhagen University Hospital that looked at the health outcomes of 13,443 people who’d had a heart attack:

“The study found that women who described themselves as lonely were three times more likely to die within a year of the attack than those with an active social life; and men in the same position were twice as likely to die within a year.”

The article also mentions that the negative health effects caused by loneliness are similar to those caused by smoking or obesity, increasing the risk of death by 26-percent. It then goes on to say that loneliness can also lead to of a variety of physical and mental health problems.

So you see, loneliness is a very serious issue and one that is always front and centre of our minds here at Promedica24, both when we provide our live-in care services and when we are championing community projects to combat loneliness.

Live-in care and loneliness

By its nature, live-in care is an antidote to loneliness, but if you’re not completely familiar with live-in care let’s look at it in more detail and the impact each aspect has on an elderly client’s wellbeing.

Flexibility

Live-in care allows you to live life on your own terms. Get up and go to bed when you want, set your own mealtimes and see family and friends as normal. We want life to be just as it was prior to our live-in carer moving in, with the added benefit of having someone there to help at all times.

Trying new things

If you want to try new things, your carer is on hand to help with that. Set your own agenda for each day with the help of your carer to introduce you to new activities within the community.

Getting out there and meeting new people while learning new skills is the perfect way to dispel loneliness and find a sense of purpose again. Activities in the community quite simply provide a new lease of life. Whether it be day centres, lunch clubs, singing and dancing sessions, or learning new skills such as IT, there’s a lot on offer.

Safety & security

A less discussed problem connected to loneliness is worry. In addition to the distress of having nobody to spend time with comes concern around things like security.

With live-in care someone is always there to keep you safe. Live-in carers will ensure the property is suitably secured every night, giving you that peace of mind, and they’re there to reduce the chances of illness or injury in general. They do this by providing one-to-one care tailored for your specific needs, by ensuring a healthy lifestyle, and by being there physically to prevent falls, make sure medication is taken on time and preventing infection due to a lack of drinking.

Live-in care breaks the standard mould when it comes to social care – carers are always there and never need to rush off to attend to other clients. That comes with peace of mind, all the time.

Companionship

We’ve pointed out the damaging effect loneliness can have on long term health; having a live-in carer means company is always available. Of course, there will be times when you may want some privacy or alone time and carers will be discreet and understanding of your need for privacy, but you will never be short of companionship when you need it.

As humans, we’re social beings. We thrive on interaction with others, which is why loneliness is so detrimental as we get older. It should be all our duties to protect our loved ones and the wider community from the effects of loneliness and it’s often the little things that can make a big difference. You never know what people are going through and it’s good to talk, so as a society it helps to make a conscious effort to be kind and be there for others.

Our carers champion this way of thinking, that’s why they have the careers they have – they genuinely do care. They take the time to develop true bonds with client’s and become an extended version of the family. Our carers stay in situ for several weeks at a time before care changes hands, minimising too much disruption and the concern that can come with that.

Building up these relationships and cutting out social isolation has a profound effect on the wellbeing of our elderly patients and we will always keep striving to find new ways to help eradicate loneliness amongst the elderly in society.

Live-in care: finding the perfect match

Of course, care is a people business, so one of the most important steps we take when providing live-in care is the matching process.

The carer has to be the right fit personality-wise for the client and vice versa, so we go through a rigorous process to make sure we get it right. We take the time to understand what you enjoy and the type of life you want to lead and then we match you with the best carer for you.

Is now the right time to find out more?

Are you or a loved one suffering from loneliness or require a new form of care?

Find out more about our live-in care services today by calling us on 01254 375023 or you can visit Promedica care at home to read more about what we can do for you. We hope to hear from you soon if you need us, we are providing care as normal during these difficult times.

Keep well, and stay in close contact with your loved ones, even if it’s virtually for now. Never has ‘how are you?’ been a more important question to ask. We can all help to combat loneliness simply by listening. Who could you call to check in on today?

-Gary Derbyshire, regional partner (North Yorkshire & Lancashire), Promedica24

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