The outbreak of coronavirus and lockdown have impacted all of us, completely changing our everyday lives and bringing new challenges we weren’t anticipating. While many of us have struggled in lockdown, especially with being unable to see our friends and family, feelings of isolation and loneliness are even more troubling for the elderly. The elderly are already more vulnerable to a wide range of health conditions, and research has shown that these conditions are made worse, or more likely, when the elderly are experiencing feelings of isolation and loneliness. This makes it so important that we provide care for those who need it most, especially during a time of social distancing and uncertainty.
It has been found that isolation and loneliness in the elderly can increase the risk of many physical and mental conditions, including high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and depression. In other words, isolation and loneliness create the conditions in the body that can lead to diseases. The risk of developing health conditions is already quite high for older members of society, making isolation and loneliness especially dangerous. Research has also shown that feeling lonely means immune cells can become weakened, making it more difficult for the body to fight off viruses. During a time where a new virus is circulating, offering the elderly the support and companionship they need is crucial for helping them stay healthy.
Age UK discovered that more than 2 million people over the age of 75 in England live by themselves, and more than a million go for over a month without speaking to a relative, friend or neighbour. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can occur for a number of reasons, whether it’s due to the death of a spouse, or mobility issues preventing the elderly leaving the house for social reasons. In an age where technology has become pivotal for maintaining communication, many elderly people don’t have access to the internet to keep in touch with loved ones. This means that social distancing has been even more detrimental to their wellbeing, with relations and friends unable to visit them freely in their homes.
While we gradually adapt to life after lockdown, it’s important that we remember to look out for those who are most vulnerable, making sure we continue to offer them care and support during a time of increased isolation and loneliness. Picking up the phone to an elderly loved one, or arranging a visit from a CareGiver is sure to make them feel comforted and put a smile on their face.
If your concerned about a love one or someone you know please contact our friendly team at Right at Home Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin on 01462 559159 – We’re here to help.