Loneliness in older age
MUCH has been made in recent weeks of Man on the Moon, this year’s Christmas advert from John Lewis.
Teaming up with Age UK, it aims to raise awareness of the statistic that one million older people can go up to one month without speaking to a friend, neighbour, loved one or even stranger.
Having worked with older people in the North East for more than 30 years, we see first-hand the effects loneliness can have on people.
While the festive period highlights this isolation, it is important to remember loneliness isn’t present just at key holidays. For many it can be a constant.
For us, underlying the Man on the Moon are three important areas to consider when looking at how, as a society, we can address the issue of loneliness.
There is the need for communities to have greater involvement in helping tackle isolation with projects such as cross-generational initiatives linking schools with care settings.
Too often older people are portrayed as passive, sat in armchairs unable to do anything. We need a shift of focus onto older people’s abilities and for people to be actively involved in ageing creatively.
Lastly, how do we address ghettos of isolation for older people living in care settings? Surrounded by people, those in care can experience loneliness. As a society we can further explore how we ensure people in care homes are very much a part of the community.
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