Elderly Care: How You Can Help to Combat Loneliness

an image of a woman feeling lonely Figures from AgeUK show 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, with 1.9 million older people feel like they're being ignored. Loneliness amongst the elderly population is causing a significant impact on their well-being.  As care workers, the elderly you look after often never interact with people from the outside world. Some older people are stuck within their four walls and feel isolated and lonely. And there are number of reasons why some of the elderly you look after have grown to feel this way. Some have gone through a divorce or have become a widow. Some have lost contact with old friends and family and simply do not know where to start. In most cases, older people who struggle with loneliness have very limited opportunities in terms of social interaction. And when you do make your routinely visits to see your elderly patients, you are the only person that they get to talk to.  This post is going to share what you can do to help the elderly overcome their loneliness. 

1. Get Them to Open Up

The first step in helping an elderly patient overcome their loneliness is to get them to talk about it. Talking about loneliness is a form of therapy. And taking the time to listen and really understand what they are going through helps them to come to terms with their current situation.  Acceptance of loneliness is the first step towards finding a solution to overcome it. Remember, it takes time for someone to open up about their loneliness, so do ensure you exercise patience. 

2. Encourage Them to Take Up a Hobby

It can be quite concerning to know that an elderly person could spend a large portion of their day in front of the TV. Not only is this prolonged period of inactivity bad for their health, it does not help to counteract the effects of loneliness.  If you noticed that they are spending too much time in front of the TV, then you can encourage them to take up a hobby. There are loads of hobbies that are out there for everyone, even for those who are struggling with mobility. Examples of hobbies include: 
  • Gardening
  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Knitting
  • Model trains
Hobbies like the above can help to keep the mind occupied. And also, there are plenty of social clubs that cater towards hobbies as well, providing new opportunities to meet new people.

3. Make Them Aware of Financial Scams

Unfortunately, the elderly, in particularly those who are feeling lonely, are extremely vulnerable to financial scams. A recent study has shown that financial exploitation in the elderly increases the risk of mortality, reduced life satisfaction and see a decline in health.  Make sure you spend some time in explaining what potential risks they could face and encourage them to not share any financial details over the phone, even if the caller says it is their bank. If you feel they are still at risk, then you can report this to senior officials to escalate your concern. 

4. Ask Them to Contact Their Families

Even though some studies suggest many older people would like to interact with people of a similar age or background, AgeUK have suggested that intergenerational contact can be more effective in combating isolation.  Encouraging your elderly patients to make the effort to contact a family member, if possible, can help them feel they have that all-important family support. Sometimes, family members can get so busy with their lives that they can lose touch with their elderly relatives without really knowing it.

5. Refer Them to a Befriending Service

Thankfully, there are many charities and not-for-profit organisations that provide a befriending service. Befriending is where volunteers register themselves to dedicate their spare time with those who feel isolated and alone.   It is an excellent way for people suffering from loneliness to make new friends. Befriending schemes get people of all ages signing up. And for those who are homebound, they also offer a telephone-based befriending service.  Notable befriending service providers include:  And that's just to name a few.  two people, an elderly person and a young man playing chess

Want To Have a Rewarding Career in Health & Social Care? 

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