Senior isolation is a growing problem here in the UK, affecting about one million older Britons, and these numbers will only continue to grow as more and more of us age in record numbers. Of course, at the minute with the world in lockdown due to Coronavirus, this isolation is only increasing - and not just within the older generation. People of all ages are having to stay in their homes in order to stop the spread of Covid-19 and of course if you live alone, this means weeks, maybe months of solitary living with no face-to-face contact (unless you're a key worker).
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are bad enough on their own, but they can also lead to some alarming health consequences. These can include conditions like depression or actual physical ailments like heart disease to surface.
Thankfully, awareness is the first step to combat loneliness and we can look for ways to help our loved ones, friends, and even fellow seniors stay healthy and happy by avoiding isolation when the Covid-19 pandemic is over with something to look forward to.
1. Schedule Adequate Transportation
Many people suffer from loneliness because they don’t have access to public transportation or other local senior services. This is unfortunate on many levels, but primarily due to the fact that it limits access to programs, resources and independence. Help combat loneliness by providing rides, finding a local taxi service, or helping someone learn the ins and outs of the public transportation system so they can maintain their independence and relationships.
A great way to overcome loneliness is to get involved and help out others who may be in a similar situation to you. If you are lonely, sign up to spend a few hours helping at a local animal shelter, reading with children at a nearby school, delivering meals on wheels to people with limited mobility, foster pets for a rescue group or volunteer for any other cause that you feel passionate about.
The possibilities are limitless!
3. Grow Something
Whether you have a nice garden already or use an allotment in the community, get outside and grow something. The fresh air, green space, and interaction with fellow neighbours or gardeners is a great way to fight loneliness. If you have excess produce, consider donating it to a charity.
As we know already, being around flowers can help to put a smile on your face and can benefit your mental health. Herbal medicines are also the most common form of medicine used worldwide, with about 80% of the world using herbs and flowers for medical uses.
4. Take up a New Hobby
One of the top ways to combat loneliness is to rediscover our passion or interests. Hobbies are a great outlet for us, are practical for people with limited mobility and our projects even allow us to set goals or think ahead. For example, we can look forward to adding a rare stamp to our collection or learning a new knitting pattern. To help find a hobby, consider the following ideas:
5. Join a Club or Organisation
Instead of sitting inside alone, we can visit our local senior citizens center, library, or religious organisation to meet new people. Take a free class, sign up for a chess league, or join a book club. Many of these organisations even offer transportation to and from events, you just need to ask.
6. Embrace Technology
Join online communities or social media pages that interest you to access a wealth of knowledge and forge new friendships. Take the time to learn how to text, use social media and email so you can easily keep in touch with friends and family on a daily basis.
7. Take Advantage of Smart Assistants like Alexa on the Amazon Echo
This top tip follows closely with embracing technology, but this type of tech allows you to use your voice to control a device and appliances in your home with simple commands or normal speech. The great thing about these programs and devices is they don’t require a lot of training to operate. You simply talk. They rely on a smart speaker which is your in-home smart assistant and internet connection.
You can control your thermostat, lights and appliances with a simple voice activation. For example, you have been out shopping and get home with a handful of bags - Simply greet your voice assistant and she will greet you back and turn on the house lights so you don’t have to fumble around with tins and bags of crisps.
She is also great for asking questions, playing your favorite music, keeping up on football scores, ordering products, keeping track of schedules, reminding you to refill prescriptions, notifying you about upcoming appointments and much more.
8. Get a Roommate or Relocate to a Retirement Housing Scheme
Today’s senior living isn’t like that of our parents and there are a variety of options and amenities available that cater to our needs, wants and interests. Take advantage of housing for older people that acts as social hubs.
These arrangements provide independence, social activities, access to healthcare and social care resources which make it easy for us to drop in for a cup of tea or pick up a game of cards with our friends or family.
Combat Loneliness and Stay Safe
We hope that these tips can help you to combat loneliness and create more of a social calendar once the Covid-19 pandmic has passed. If you are living alone, it may be a good idea - espeecially during these uncertain times - to take a look at our life-saving personal alarm service. Having an alarm ensures that you can call for help if you have a fall or feel unwell at home, whether it's during the day or in the middle of the night.
For more information on purchasing a personal alarm, please speak to one of our friendly advisors on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
What tips on how to combat loneliness do you have? Share your ideas below.