How Right at Home UK is looking to tackle this important issue
Last week, Cadbury Dairy Milk launched its ‘Donating Your Words’ campaign in partnership with Age UK, to raise awareness and combat loneliness amongst older people. The campaign sees the words from the iconic purple wrapper removed and 30p from every bar of chocolate sold will go to Age UK, to help the charity provide vital services and support for older people.
This follows the Government’s campaign, launched back in June, to tackle loneliness at every age, called ‘Let’s Talk Loneliness’. You can read more about the campaign and the actions the Government have pledged as part of the campaign here.
Speaking about the epidemic and the launch of the Government campaign, Minister for Loneliness, Mims Davies, said: “We’re all busy and used to finding time for people when it comes to texting, messaging, and sending pictures but we don’t always phone them, or have a natter face-to-face like we used to.
“We need to make sure we’re seeing the people behind the posts and that we’re staying connected with our grandparents, our colleagues, our parents and not just dropping a text.”
What is Right at Home doing to tackle loneliness?
As a leading provider of homecare and companionship services, we understand the severity of this issue and are looking to lead the way in tackling this widespread problem. Here are just a few examples from across our network of how, together, we are looking to end loneliness in the communities we serve.
Volunteering – We have CareGivers regularly volunteering to run activities and social clubs in their local community. These clubs are often free of charge to residents and cannot run without the support of local volunteers. One example is Right at Home Maidenhead, who provides CareGivers to volunteer at the local Sequela Group.
Offices like Right at Home Cheshire East produce handy ‘What’s on Where’ printed guides for their local community, detailing all of the different events and activities happening in the local area.
Exercise classes – As well as supporting locally run events, we have offices that run their own activities. In order to engage as many people as possible, regardless of age or ability or whether they are a Client of Right at Home, Right at Home GF runs a weekly inclusive cricket session, which even featured on local tv!
Right at Home Stockport & Didsbury run chair yoga sessions. Not only do the classes give people the chance to get out into the community but they are great for posture, mindfulness and of course, provides participants with some gentle exercise.
Workshops, coffee clubs and bingo! – From Halloween-themed crafts workshops to potting plants and bingo, we run a whole host of other initiatives and events to engage with our communities. Here’s just a couple of photos from our network:
Dementia Friendly activities – with many of our Clients living with a form of dementia, we also hold dementia friendly activities such as dementia cafés. Right at Home Medway recently invited pupils from two local schools to attend its dementia café to facilitate intergenerational integration.
Mobility vehicles – Several of our offices have invested in mobility vehicles to assist as many people as possible to get out into the community and socialise. You can read more about Right at Home Maidenhead’s mobility vehicle and how its making a difference to the local community here.
Pets – Whilst many of our offices offer pet therapy for the primary reason of supporting people living with dementia, companionship is also a huge benefit. A well-timed pet visit can help with agitation, depression and anxiety. It is common for us to see someone change from withdrawn to animated and joyful when one of our pet therapy dogs enters the room.
The benefits of social interaction
As well as preventing feelings of social isolation and loneliness, social interaction offers a number of other benefits. According to Age UK, there is evidence to indicate that positive, meaningful social engagement is good for brain health and there’s also evidence to suggest that loneliness increases the risk of loss of thinking skills in older people.
There has been a wealth of research suggesting that social interaction plays a huge factor in our overall wellbeing and happiness. Take a look at this article from the Open University to find out more.
Our next steps
We are keen to work with the Government to share our knowledge, best practice and case studies on the positive impact our work in this area has made on our local communities. We have taken steps to get the ball rolling with this, so watch this space for more info in the coming months.
In the meantime, if you have any queries on our companionship services, or would like more information on events happening in your local area, get in touch with your local Right at Home office.