What Is Loneliness?
According to Age UK, “Loneliness is a subjective feeling about the gap between a person’s desired levels of social contact and their actual level of social contact.” As they say, everyone is different when it comes to desiring contact with other people.
While one person may crave the company of others, another may be just as happy on their own, however it’s likely that everyone has desired company at some point during key events in their life, even if only on their birthday or at religious festival times, when families traditionally come together. Loneliness is at last being given the attention it should as a major risk factor for people’s physical as well as mental health, and the government showed how important the issue was when they appointed a dedicated minister for loneliness in January 2018.
How Dangerous Is Loneliness in The Elderly?
Loneliness can be experienced at any age; however, it is particularly prevalent amongst older people. This is often because of the loss of significant others, poor health, an inability to access community support or because they don’t feel rooted in the neighbourhood they live in. According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, “The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years.”
Loneliness is not just an emotional condition either, it can have a very real effect on your physical health as well. The Campaign to End Loneliness goes on to say:
- Your risk of death can increase by 26% when living with loneliness
- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day has the same negative health effects as loneliness
- Obesity is less of a risk to health than loneliness
- It can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke
- It increases the risk of high blood pressure
- One of the risk factors for depression in later life is loneliness
- Early mortality is a risk when loneliness causes severe depression
- Individuals are put at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia by experiencing loneliness
How Can Live-in Care Reduce Loneliness
Our live-in carers are amazing; they are compassionate and supportive and can do as much or as little as you need them to do in your home. They can be a constant companion; someone to chat to, watch TV with, go shopping with and who’ll drive you to appointments and activities.
They will also care for you – undertaking any tasks that you need help with to live your fullest life possible, such as personal care, doing housework, preparing your meals, supporting your mobility and any number of other care tasks. Whether you have mild or complex care needs won’t trouble our carers, as they are highly trained to ensure they can support you to remain in the home you love, regardless of your condition.
If you don’t need care though you may be thinking you don’t need a live-in carer, however, our carers are with you around the clock to make sure you’re never lonely, meaning if you fancy a game of chess, want to complete a puzzle or play cards then they will be happy to do so.
Equally, if you are enjoying a few moments of solitude and would rather not be disturbed, they’ll busy themselves in another part of the house undertaking household chores, meaning you get a bit of peace until you feel you’d like some company again. Our carers are very discreet and never overstep boundaries, so if you’d like a private chat with a family member for instance, don’t feel there’ll be someone else in the room listening!
Not Just A Carer, But A Friend as Well
Your live-in carer may enter your house as a stranger but they’ll very quickly become a friend. Your carer will be matched to you by your mutual interests wherever possible, so you will have someone you’ll be able to chat to about the things that interest you. Perhaps you’ll be able to teach each other new things too, such as card games or how to shop online, meaning you’ll quickly share skills and enjoy each other’s company more because of it. You may also want your live-in carer to accompany you to groups and activities in the community that you’ve always enjoyed, meaning you get to attend functions outside of the house again and reintegrate yourself into your former social circles.
Ultimately though, you live-in carer is with you to promote your independence, help you with tasks you may find a struggle and support you to live your very best life possible in the home you love. Contact us today to discover more.