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How To Overcome Loneliness in Old Age

Loneliness in later life affects millions of adults across the UK, with the over-75s being particularly vulnerable. According to Age UK, over 2 million people in England who are aged 75 and over live alone. In addition, over a million older adults report they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, or family member.

Loneliness can profoundly impact mental and physical health, so it’s a crucial issue to address for our older members of society. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and approaches to combat loneliness for your loved ones.

Feelings of loneliness can be caused by any number of things for older individuals. Common scenarios that can cause or aggravate this include:

  • Changes in physical and mental health
  • social isolation
  • loss of a loved one or friend
  • physical isolation
  • loss of a sense of purpose
  • financial worries
  • major life events like retirement, moving home, changes to family dynamics, etc.

Loneliness doesn’t only occur in people living alone. Older adults can be living with family members yet still feel lonely. Read our guide to spotting the signs and symptoms of loneliness in older adults for more information on what to look out for in your loved one.

If you’re worried that a loved one is experiencing loneliness in later life, you can do plenty of things to help and support them through it.

Whether you live nearby and can pop in for a cup of tea or are further away but can call for a chat, maintaining regular communication is really important for supporting older adults experiencing loneliness. If you can stick to a regular schedule of when you can see, call, or even video chat with them, it can help if they know when they’ll next have someone to speak to.

Staying active is crucial for physical and mental well-being. It can also be a great way to get out and socialise. Local community or day centres, sports centres, religious centres and village halls are good places to look for activities designed specifically for older individuals.

When experiencing social isolation or loneliness, your loved one may lose interest in what they usually enjoy. They may even feel disconnected and need help reintegrating into social activities.

Finding social or hobby groups that they can get involved with is still a great way to combat social isolation. These could be coffee mornings, games clubs, gardening groups, volunteering work, or local community events.

Build a healthy routine

Many people might think it’s fantastic not to have to stick to a rigid schedule on a daily basis. However, a lack of routine can exacerbate isolation and loneliness for older adults.

Having structure in their day and supporting them in developing healthy habits and routines around getting enough good-quality sleep, eating nutritious meals, and getting out and about where they can are all essential for combating loneliness.

Seek Professional Help

If your friend or loved one struggles with social isolation and loneliness, they may need professional help to combat those feelings. Various professional interventions are there to offer support:

  • Healthcare professionals. If an older individual is struggling with the effects of loneliness, speaking to a GP is always a good start. They can also signpost other services for support.
  • Home-Based Care Services. If an older adult needs day-to-day support or needs to supplement the support they are getting, consider home-based care service. Care assistants can help with tasks such as preparing meals, managing medication, helping out with practical tasks around the house, providing companionship care, and assisting them with getting to appointments or social outings.
  • Support Groups. Joining support groups for people going through similar experiences can help your loved one tackle their feelings of loneliness and isolation. It can also provide the opportunity to connect with people and build relationships outside of that group.

Contact us to find out how our team of kind care assistants can help your loved feel connected.