Did you know that loneliness has the same health effects as smoking 16 cigarettes a day? When a much loved partner dies, the surviving partner can find it difficult to get out of the house and meet people. Apart from needing time to grieve after the bereavement, long term loneliness can affect people’s health.
What can we do about it? Well, there’s a number of things. For those of us who live close to elderly neighbours, it is hugely helpful to call in to say hello on a regular basis, perhaps call in with a few homemade buns or even with a copy of the newspaper. Offers of a lift to the library or to the supermarket would be hugely appreciated too.
A study in the UK shows that intergenerational activities bring enormous benefits to young and old. Older people in their 80s are taking cooking classes with people in their twenties, or taking parts in drama groups with teenagers. The young are learning stories from the older people, about their pasts, gaining respect for them and improving their own confidence in talking to people. Research has shown that if younger people spend time with the elderly, they are much more optimistic about growing old. The opposite is also the case, those who have little contact with older people, tend to be pessimistic about ageing and have a higher chance of experiencing depression as a result.
The benefits for older people are immense. Apart from alleviating loneliness, they learn new hobbies, have interesting conversations, keep up to date on what is going on in the world, become fitter and healthier, and generally have a positive outlook on life as they look forward to the events.
As a home care company, our carers fulfil a number of roles when providing home help. They help with personal care if required, with washing and dressing, with medication reminders and food preparation. They also do some light housekeeping such as ironing, washing the kitchen floor or dusting – all the while chatting and having a banter with their client. Once the work is finished, there can be a little while sometimes to sit down and do the crossword together before time is up. Older people look forward to that daily call and it makes a huge difference to their lives.
However, the number of people requiring care in their own home is increasing and although we are hiring more carers on a weekly basis, many of our offices still have vacancies. If you have been thinking of becoming a carer for some time, what are you waiting for? Check out our vacancies and if there isn’t a vacancy in your area this week, do check back again.