According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, in the UK ‘17% of older people are in contact with family, friends, and neighbours less than once a week; 11% are in contact less than once a month; over 51% of those aged 75 and over live alone and two-fifths of all older people (approximately 3.9 million individuals) say that the television is their main source of company’. There is evidently a problem in the UK with social isolation; the question is, how important is reducing loneliness and fostering companionship in increasing one’s quality of life?
A study conducted by Harvard Medical School on what makes people happy, concluded that the ‘warmth of relationships throughout life has the greatest positive impact on life satisfaction’. The study demonstrates not only the importance of reducing loneliness and fostering companionship, but also the magnitude of the problem. As many elderly people in the UK struggle to keep in contact with family and live alone, it is no wonder that loneliness is on the rise. Relationships are a major factor and influence on our quality of life, and therefore the importance of companionship for the elderly is paramount, especially due to their increased vulnerability to experience loneliness. The Guardian highlights how loneliness can accelerate conditions such as dementia, high blood pressure, alcoholism, and accidents. It is clear that loneliness is a worrying social epidemic and can also be detrimental to one’s physical health.
The good news is that awareness of the problem is increasing. Government initiatives such as the Joe Cox Commission on Loneliness, along with increased documentation by mainstream media, have put loneliness in the public spotlight. We at Cera, aim to both spread awareness of and be a solution to the problem of loneliness. If your loved one ever feels lonely, we have services that can help them to combat this, ranging from regular check-ins to full-time live-in care. No one should ever feel lonely, especially the elderly. If you’d like to discuss our solutions further, please don’t hesitate to call Cera on 0203 034 4784.