Help combat isolation
and loneliness in the over 65s

30 August 2017

Silver-Sunday-400Sunday October 1 will be the sixth annual Silver Sunday, an annual national day put on by the Sir Simon Milton Foundation. The day was launched by Councillor Christabel Flight to help combat social isolation and loneliness in the over 65s after it was found that more than a third of people over 75 said they felt lonely.

We at Guinness Care know the harrowing effect social isolation can have on older people’s wellbeing. Loneliness can have devastating effects on your physical and psychological health.

Age UK released a review of loneliness and social isolation in older people. It found both increased with age, with two-fifths of older people saying that the television is their main source of company.

There are over 2 million people living alone over the age of 75.

More than a million of these say they go over a month without speaking to anyone.

It’s important to recognise the difference between the feeling of loneliness and the actual physical act of being socially isolated.

Older people can feel lonely even if they have regular contact with family and friends as they may feel unwanted or that they’re not being productive, which is itself worrying.Research led by Dr Carla Perissinotto at the University of California, San Francisco, reported that it’s not just living alone, but having actual feelings of loneliness and isolation that matters. Dr Perissinotto asked 1,604 participants – with an average age of 71 – three questions about feelings of isolation to gauge their loneliness.

For the next six years, researchers visited the participants every 2 years to evaluate their day-to-day abilities. By the end of the 6 years, lonely people showed significantly more disability. Overall, people that felt alone were:

  • 59% more likely to have lost the ability to perform tasks of daily living.
  • 18% more likely to suffer mobility problems
  • 31% more likely to have trouble climbing stairs

It is important to recognise the importance of social inclusion and contact with the older people in our community. Helping to older people to overcome feelings of isolation and loneliness is important and very easily done.