Lonely Britain? Social isolation reaches crisis point

Recent figures show that the number of socially-isolated older people has reached a 50-year high. Almost a million older people across the UK are affected, and Contact the Elderly have declared a state of emergency as the numbers reach crisis point.

All age groups can suffer from loneliness but as people get older the risk factors increase. Poor health, decreased mobility, retirement, and bereavement are all key elements which can combine to impact on a person’s social isolation. You can read more about the growing crisis here.

Social isolation is not just a moral issue but can also have serious health implications for older people. Studies have shown that loneliness can im
pact on both physical and mental health. Individuals can suffer from increased blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and are at higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, and the onset of disability. Research has shown a lack of social interaction is as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day and the effects of loneliness are twice as unhealthy as obesity. Those affected are more prone to depression, cognitive decline and the onset of dementia.

Alleviating loneliness is critical to enabling older people to maintain independence for as long as possible. Those who are remote from society are more likely to visit their GP more regularly, have higher use of medication, and suffer a high frequency of falls. In addition, they are more likely to experience early entry into nursing or residential care.

Older People’s Day – Comfort Keepers’ Pledge

In order to tackle an ageing and increasingly lonely population Older People’s Day (1st October 2014) seeks to celebrate the achievements and contributions of those over 65 and re-establish a connection across generations. The campaign hopes to challenge negative stereotypes and outdated attitudes through a day of awareness-raising events across the country. You can find out more about how to join in the activities here.

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Nobody should suffer the silent pain of loneliness and Comfort Keepers has made the following pledge in celebration of Older People’s Day. We are committed to…

Providing loving care to our elderly clients to ensure a high quality of life in their own homes.

Companion care with Comfort Keepers

At Comfort Keepers, our person-centered approach to home care means we care for each client with the respect and dignity we would provide to a member of our own family. Our care workers offer true companionship for your loved one, from engaging in conversation through to sharing meals, this social contact is proven to enhance the health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

Our care-workers actively engage clients to help them stay independent in their own homes and make life brighter and more enjoyable. Our care workers undertake a range of activities with our clients from cooking favourite recipes together, reminiscing over old photos, visiting friends, continuing favourite hobbies, taking a walk or doing puzzles.

Darren Housden, UK Business Development Manager, Comfort Keepers UK, said:

“Social isolation is a serious issue affecting thousands of older people across the country. Loneliness doesn’t just cause misery but also poses a very real health risk. We offer a range of companion care services which help to combat loneliness and keep your loved one independent in their own home. We understand the importance of staying connected and our unique online Family-Connect-Programme means you can keep up-to-date with your loved one and share in all their special moments.”

You can find out about our companion care services and Family-Connect-Programme here.

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