I'm delighted to be working with Sunrise Senior Living on a campaign to raise awareness about loneliness in old age by hosting a meal and a game of cards with someone who could do with a bit of company.
Research from the group Campaign to End Loneliness has shown how detrimental loneliness can be to a person’s health, especially for older people. One in five people aged 60 and over who experience loneliness say they have no one to turn to and It makes me feel so sad that someone, somewhere could be sitting all alone, desperate for company. All it takes is a phone call, a visit and a quick cuppa or you could even host a meal and a game of cards. It doesn't have to cost much money, but it could make all the difference to someone who lives alone and craves some social interaction.
I was shocked to discover that loneliness and isolation are as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That is so awful. The Campaign to End Loneliness is calling on local authorities to take the lead on reducing and preventing loneliness in their local areas and the Campaign states that the support needed should include transport and technology – with 41 per cent of those who feel lonely say that transport is a barrier to seeing people, and 51% of older people polled believe the internet can help prevent loneliness.
In the UK, research estimates that:
- Around 1 million people aged over 65 report feeling lonely often or always.
- 12 per cent of older people feel trapped in their own home.
- Six per cent of older people leave their house once a week or less.
- 17 per cent of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbors less than once a week and 11 per cent are in contact less than once a month.
- Half of all older people (about 5 million) say the television is their main company.
I hosted a lunch for an elderly friend of mine who doesn't get out that much and it was so much fun. We had a light salad, a game of cards, then good old traditional 'Bread and Butter Pudding' for our afters. It was something I hadn't had for years and I forgot how yummy it is, and so easy to make.
Do you know someone who could do with a bit of company? Or maybe you would like to know how to get more involved with the campaign by creating change in your own area? Pop over to the campaign website here for all the info you need.
*For information about how you can get involved and free recipe cards visit www.campaigntoendloneliness.org. A collaborative post with Sunrise who are working hard to to end loneliness.