Combatting Loneliness and Social Isolation in Elderly People

As we grow older, our social lives can begin to rapidly change. It can be harder to get out and about; friends or relatives may live slightly out of reach, and health concerns may make it harder to socialise. With the addition of Covid-19 and its variants, loneliness and isolation in elderly people has become a growing concern, and they are combatting loneliness and social isolation.

To combat this, personal care services or domestic care for the elderly can provide much needed support and company for elderly loved ones, as well as encourage and support them in leaving the home again.

Loneliness in the elderly is a concern, and a growing one at that. For people 50 or over, it is reported that they are:

5.5 times more likely to be often lonely if they don’t have someone to open up to when they need to talk compared with older people who have someone.

1.6 times more likely to be often lonely if they live alone.

Additionally, it is reported by that there are health risks linked to loneliness in older people.

  • Loneliness can increase your chance of death by 26%
  • Loneliness and social isolation can be linked to an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  • 2/5 of older people (around 3.9 million) say that the television is their main company.

How to Combat Loneliness and Social Isolation

With staggering information like the above, it is essential that older people receive support and company to combat loneliness and isolation. If you are or know an elderly person in need of more social care and support, below are a few tips.

To begin, you could encourage the older person to engage in more community social events that allow them to meet and engage with other people. This can be community events and fundraisers, or even just a book club.

If your loved one lives far away, make an effort to video or voice call them often and ask them about their week. Or, if you can, arrange to visit them as often as you can.

Exercising is a fantastic way to fight off illness and bad mental health at any age. Attending an older person’s fitness class, such as chair yoga or swimming is fantastic for meeting new people, while also reaping some health benefits.

Join some charitable organisations. Spending your free time doing something good for other people has many social and mental benefits, while also spreading some good and helping other people.

Day centres or care agencies may be a good idea for some additional company. A lot of these centres run activities or clubs you can attend and engage in a skill or hobby. Things such as flower arranging, wreath making, baking, bingo, etc.

If you or your loved one are struggling to get out the house at all, or are concerned about the covid restrictions, out of the home activities may not be on offer for you. If this is the case, domestic support or personal care services from a home care agency can be hugely beneficial for isolation and loneliness. Domestic support can include help with domestic tasks, cooking services for the elderly, as well as social support with leaving the home and seeing friends/family.

This can be beneficial as it allows older people access to weekly or daily contact with a domestic support carer who can assist them with domestic tasks and emotional support. Simply having someone visit often can see huge benefits in lonely older people, as well as ease some pressures if they require domestic support or cooking services.