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Loneliness – the hidden killer of the elderly

09 February 2011

Loneliness; The Hidden Killer of the Elderly

As reported in the Daily Mail this week, loneliness is the hidden killer of the elderly, threatening health as much as obesity or smoking. Approximately one in ten people suffer from loneliness which is believed can lead to an increased risk of depression, lack of exercise and poor eating habits. When considering care in later life perhaps loneliness needs to be thought about? Where would you feel less lonely in a care home surrounded by strangers or in at home with a live-in carer chosen by you, who you can build a strong relationship with? According to the Campaign to End Loneliness which is being organised by Age UK Oxfordshire, Counsel And Care, Independent Age and WRVS and funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, loneliness is a bigger problem than a simply emotional experience. Researchers rate loneliness as a higher health risk than lifelong smoking, with links between a lack of social interaction with the onset of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s; an illness which costs the NHS an estimated &pound;20 billion a year. Loneliness has also been linked in medical research to heart disease and depression. Sometimes those who feel lonely don&rsquo;t like to talk about it and currently the health service does not recognise loneliness as a condition they can directly help.Loneliness is increasing, partly due to greater numbers living on their own as they live longer and families disperse. More than half of those over the age of 75 live alone and about one in ten suffers &lsquo;intense&rsquo; loneliness.Another advantage of Live-in Care the fact that a large part of the role is companionship. Where as in a care home there are many staff helping to care for you but that can make it difficult to build relationships, as they will have a number of customers to care for. Live in care enables you to get out and about, allowing you to lead your life as independently as possible helping to combat loneliness and onset of degenerative diseases at bay. Let me leave you with a compliment that has come in this morning I am writing to tell you about my lovely carers Simone and Michelle, they have changed my life . For young carers they are so loving, understanding as well as being good companions and friends .They are a tremendous credit to Helping Hands.</p>

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