More reports and studies are linking loneliness to health problems among older people. Loneliness is becoming a real problem across the UK, with more and more people now living alone without any friends or family to support them.
It is believed that more than half of over-75s live alone, with around one million Britons thought to be suffering from loneliness. A recent study, by the Campaign to End Loneliness charity, unearthed some alerting facts and figures:
- Around 17% of older people see friends, family and neighbours less than once a week.
- One in 10 older people go for a month at a time without seeing any loved ones.
- Two fifths of older people, around 3.9 million people, view the television as their main source of company.
These facts and figures are of a huge concern, especially with reports being released that suggest loneliness can increase the risk of several medication conditions.
Increased risk of heart problems
A report published in 2016 said that loneliness can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack by almost a third. In the report it was said that the effect of social isolation is similar to that of anxiety or work-related stress. During the research, British scientists analysed data on more than 181,000 people and found being lonely and isolated raised the chance of heart disease by 29% and stroke by 32%.
Of the 181,000 patients involved, 4,628 suffered heart disease and 3,000 had a stroke. Experts have long warned social isolation takes a severe toll on mental health and well-being, but this is the largest study to have shown it has a dramatic impact on physical health.
Loneliness is deadlier than obesity
In a more recent report, it was suggested that loneliness is deadlier than obesity and that it should be considered as a major public health hazard. Researchers in America looked at 218 studies into the health effects of social isolation and loneliness, involving just under four million people.
In their results, they found that lonely people had a 50% increased risk of earth death, compared to those with good social connections. Obesity, in contrast, raises the chance of dying before the age of 70 by around 30%.
It is believed that more than half of over-75s live alone, with around one million Britons thought to be suffering from loneliness.”
Hobbies for Older People
One of the best ways to combat loneliness is by picking up a new hobby or two. There are plenty of hobby ideas out there for older people, but there are some in particular that will help boost their social life. These include:
- Sporting Activities – Such as walking football, golf, tennis or bowls.
- Community Groups – Such as coffee mornings, exercise classes and board game clubs.
- Adult Learning – Such as I.T and English.
- Social Media – Skype and Facebook allows people to video call and message their friends and family.
All of the above will allow you to meet new people who have the same interests as you, which is already a great start to a new friendship. These hobbies will give you places to be multiple times per week. Something to look forward to and get excited about.
Of course, with new friends comes a better social life. It is highly likely that you and your new friends will arrange meetings outside of the hobby itself, maybe going for lunch or to a football game. We believe that there’s hobby out there for everybody!
Our personal alarm system has been designed for older people, especially those who do live by themselves. The concern for those who live alone is how they can call for help if they suffer a fall at home. Who will help them? It may be days before a family member of friend comes to visit them.
With a personal alarm, you will wear a pendant around your wrist or neck. In a situation such as this, all you need to do is press the red button on your pendant. This sends an alert through to our 24/7 Care Team who will respond immediately. They will speak with you over the alarm unit’s loudspeaker, before arranging help to come to you in the form of emergency contacts, friends, family or neighbours, and the emergency services.
A personal alarm can make all the difference should you feel unwell of suffer a fall at home. For more information please call our team on 0800 999 0400, or send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.