There are a lot of changes that come with growing older, and one change that can have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of older people is a change in social circles and living situations. Sadly, this often leads to feelings of loneliness and social isolation, which is a growing concern in Australian society. Research shows it can have serious effects on both physical and mental health, leading to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even cognitive decline.
What is loneliness?
Loneliness overall centres on the feeling of being disconnected from others, and refers to a negative perception of one’s relationships. One of the distinctions we often don’t consider is that there are different types of loneliness: emotional and social. Emotional loneliness is having a lack of connection from significant relationships that have been important throughout your life. Social loneliness is about not having a wider support network or community that you are a part of.
How do we stop loneliness in older people?
If we go by the popular ABC show Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, social connection would be the answer. However, there’s not a lot of consensus about how to address loneliness in older people.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s loneliness stems from something different. So, one of the best ways to combat loneliness is to take an individualised approach.
One of the best ways to stop loneliness can simply be to ask how you can best support the older people in your life and what they might need to feel a little less lonely.
Aged care facilities & social groups are key
If you have a loved one in your life struggling with loneliness, it can be a huge burden for you to carry. That’s why aged care facilities exist and can play a vital role in combatting this epidemic by providing older people with the support, companionship, and social connections they need to thrive in their older years.
At Anglicare, we are passionate about enriching the lives of older people through our social support groups, which offer fun days of planned activities, in centre environments and out and about in the community.
This service provides amazing socialisation opportunities to our older people, as well as an opportunity for their carers to take a respite break. From dancing to games, exercise and visits to new and exciting destinations, we’ve found our social program to have positive impacts on our clients.
We know that everyone’s needs are different, which is why they offer a broad range of services to help make life easier, more enjoyable and enriching for older people. You can find out more about our social wellness program here.