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 UpThe 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 HobbyIt 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:
- Model trains