28 Jan How Can We Help Older People Who Feel Isolated?
This has been a hugely challenging year for the 2 million plus elderly people living alone in the UK. Many were asked to shield during the first lockdown, and found themselves chronically isolated from all their normal channels of care and support. Latterly, the shielding rules have been relaxed somewhat, and allow for ‘support bubbles’, but the problem of loneliness is an enduring one.
The pandemic has exacerbated the loneliness felt by many of our elders, but it didn’t create it. In 2019 Age UK reported that: “a staggering 1.7 million older people in England go for a whole month without meeting up with a friend and an estimated 300,000 over-65s don’t have a conversation with their family or friends over this same period.” So how can we help older people who feel isolated and lonely?
How Francis House HomeCare Helps Older People on Their Own
Francis House HomeCare provides domiciliary care for older people in their own homes across Bedfordshire. We witness the symptoms of loneliness first hand, and tailor our services to counter its debilitating effects. For many of our clients, the visit of their professional carer is their only social contact. Francis House HomeCare carers don’t just care for their clients’ physical needs, we also offer home care services designed to relieve social isolation:
- Time spent in conversation and sharing activities
- Phone check-ins throughout the day
- Social outings
- Live-in care
5 Ways We Can All Help With Overcoming Loneliness
Professional help goes some way to coping with loneliness if you’re older, but it’s not enough on its own. Covid has taught us that working as a community can have a huge impact on contemporary problems faced by society. We’ve come up with 5 small ways we can all help to overcome the social isolation felt by older people living alone:
- Call Older Family Members. Even if you’re not close with older members of your family, Covid offers a great excuse to call them. Just a 5 minute ‘check-in’ can greatly restore someone’s energy and spirits.
- Check-in on Older Neighbours. This was one of the great benefits to come out of the first lockdown. People knocked on older neighbours’ doors, or left a note, to see if they needed anything from the shops.
- Become a Befriender. Age UK and The Silver Line provide a friendship service for older people. It’s phone-based at the moment, and offers older users a regular opportunity to chat to someone. Why not volunteer?
- Say Hello When You’re Out. It’s such a small thing, but it can mean a lot. If you’re taking exercise locally, make a point of saying ‘hello’ to older people you pass by. It doesn’t matter if they respond or not, you’ve reached out.
- Share Posts With Family Members on Social Media. If older members of your family are ‘friends’ on FaceBook, try messaging them or sharing posts you think they’d like. If they’re on social media they would probably appreciate being noticed.
If you would like to find out more about Francis House HomeCare services for older people, call us today on 01234 841808 or visit our site at francishousehomecare.com