A recent research paper undertaken by The National Institute on Aging has highlighted some extremely unpleasant findings. It was announced the health risks of prolonged isolation and loneliness are the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. They even suggested it could shorten a person’s life span by up to 15 years. They proposed a lack of exercise, interaction and sleep are all symptoms of loneliness which can be significant a contributor to other health issues. They announced this includes the risk of a stroke (32% increase), heart issues (29%) and mental health disorders (26%). It has also been suggested that loneliness is linked to poor cognitive function and increases the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s by up to 50%.
As a care company that visits a large number of elderly patients in the local community, we are only too aware of this growing trend. The world has never been so connected and disconnected at the same time. People are increasingly busy with work and the general hustle and bustle of life. It is also now more commonplace for people to move away from their parents and relatives for work. We see this on a daily basis and it can lead to our elderly being more isolated which in turn can lead to loneliness.
To help in a small way, all our carers must buy into our company ethos of ensuring clients are not seen as mere numbers but as individuals. We understand one of the core parts of care is companionship and this must be central to any form of care we provide. This is why so many of our clients describe our carers as “friends”.
So how can you help combat the loneliness epidemic infecting our elderly?
It really is about the small things. A simple greeting or acknowledgment of a neighbour or offering to assist if they need it. This is why We Care Together is proud to be supporting “World Hello Day”. The message is simple; say hello to at least 10 strangers on the 21st of November. This is a great place to start and who knows where this open communication could lead.
In the face of the loneliness epidemic, we at We Care Together Southampton are committed to ensuring that our elderly community is not left behind. We believe in the power of companionship and the positive impact it can have on health and longevity. Join us in supporting “World Hello Day” and let’s start making a difference, one hello at a time. Remember, no one should have to face loneliness alone, and together, we can make a difference.
For more insights on elderly care and the role of companionship, check out our other articles such as A Guide for In-Home Carers and 5 Best Ways to Boost the Self-Esteem of an Elderly Patient.
Stay connected, stay informed, and remember, we care together.