Fambridge Care Share Some Simple Tips On How To Feel More Positive
Most of us will feel lonely at some point in our lives. For a lot of us, particularly those in later life, loneliness can define our lives and have a significant impact on our general sense of wellbeing. As almost one-fifth of the UK population (12 million people) state that they often or always feel lonely, more needs to be done to educate people on how to combat feelings of loneliness.
The Factors Associated with Being Lonely in Old Age
Studies have identified a range of factors commonly associated with being lonely in old age, which include:
- Moving to a new area
- Experiencing trauma
- Changing or a decline in health
- Retirement or loss of employment
- Not having a support system of family or friends
- Feeling excluded from social contacts and activities due to mobility problems
- Being diagnosed with an illness or disability that is stigmatised
- Financial difficulties
This is not an exhaustive list and regardless of whether you’re experiencing loneliness on a short or longer-term basis, there are things that you can do to combat some of these feelings.
Why We Can Feel Lonely
Loneliness might be described as negative feelings or sadness brought on by a lack of communication, companionship or relationships with other people. Loneliness can affect anyone of any age, but older people are particularly vulnerable to feeling lonely.
As people grow older, they’re more likely to lose loved ones, and may even live alone. They’re also more likely to experience health problems, which can make it harder to get out and about. All of these things can increase feelings of loneliness and a sense of isolation.
What Are The Symptoms of Loneliness?
Symptoms of loneliness can be physical as well as mental. Some of the most common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Weight gain or a sudden loss of appetite
- Lowered immune system resulting in persistent illness
- Eating more than usual and opting for unhealthy food
- Poor sleeping habits
- Neglected appearance or personal hygiene
- Lowered self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness
Loneliness in the Elderly
There are over two million elderly people aged 75 and above who live alone, and half of these people admit to spending long periods of time with little, if any social contact.
Elderly people can feel lonely for a variety of reasons including not being able to get out and about, a lack of confidence to invite people over and an inability to travel to local activities.
Investing in the services of a carer is a fantastic way of dealing with loneliness. Not only will you be visited regularly by an experienced carer who can help you maintain your independence at home, these carers will often become close friends who can also assist you with leaving the house and maintaining an active social life.
How to Overcome Loneliness
Loneliness impacts us physically as well as mentally and can be as damaging to our health as smoking or obesity.
Whether you’re feeling lonely because you have recently lost someone, or have been diagnosed with a condition that makes you feel isolated from those around you; there are things that you can do, such as the following:
Computers and mobile phones can open up a whole new world of social interaction. For example, you could use a video chat service like Skype or FaceTime to chat with friends and family who live far away. WhatsApp is another popular online messaging app that you can use to keep in regular contact with friends or family on a mobile phone or tablet.
Changing living arrangements
Many people can begin to feel lonely if they think they are ‘rattling around’ in a large house that has become too big for their needs, so it may be time to consider downsizing from a large family home with too many unused rooms.
There are several other options too, such as retirement villages or a complex of flats specially designed for independent living but with communal areas where you can meet for social events.
Take better care of yourself
There are a variety of self-care techniques that can help you improve your sense of well-being during feelings of loneliness. This includes:
- Getting the right amount of sleep
- Taking regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet (maintaining your blood sugar levels)
- Spending time outside, particularly around nature.
If you feel that you’re still able to look after a pet, this can provide a much-loved companion. Dog walking with the assistance of a carer could help you to get out and about, and potentially meet new people. Taking care of a pet can lift people’s spirits, making them feel more positive and in control.
Try something new
A new experience can help you meet new people and find a new passion. You could volunteer, take a class or join a new group.
If that sounds like too much for you right now, you could look into your local befriending service. Whether you’re looking for a new friend or are interested in volunteering; this is a great way to dip your toes into a new experience.
How Can Fambridge Care Help?
If you are interested in elderly care or feel that you could benefit from any of our other care services, please get in touch on 01245 356592.
Other Useful Resources
- Age UK’s befriending service can connect somebody with a volunteer who can visit or call on the phone – ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/loneliness/befriendingservices
- Age UK also provides details of local friendship groups – ageuk.org.uk/get-involved/social-groups/friendshipcentres/
- Independent Age: Offers advice, befriending, and campaigning to combat financial, social, and information poverty in older people – independentage.org.uk or call 0800 319 6789.
- Carers Trust: Improving support, service, and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring for a loved one – carers.org or call 0300 772 9600.