• GUEST BLOG: Tackling the loneliness of old age together

    It seems strange in this day and age of social media and on-demand entertainment and information that social isolation is a problem.

    Yet, it is, and to the extent that the Prime Minister recently announced the development of a strategy to alleviate loneliness in response to the report of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness published in December 2017.

    Government research shows:

    • more than nine million people always or often feel lonely
    • around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month
    • up to 85 per cent of young disabled adults – 18-34 year olds – feel lonely

    Almost eight years ago, in 2010, the Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) identified that up to 40,000 older people living in care in England are at risk of social isolation, with a subsequent risk to health: it’s the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the risk of developing heart and vascular conditions and cognitive decline.

    One study has concluded that lonely people have a 64 per cent increased chance of developing clinical dementia, something that the recent Dementia Action Week is keen to avoid.

    The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) quality standard: Mental wellbeing of older people in care homes is clear that declining mental wellbeing should not be viewed as an inevitable part of ageing. And, that the care required to keep residents mentally well does not have to be onerous or expensive, nor overly organised.

    It is a myth that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) expects every home to have an activities programme organised by an activity coordinator.

    In the July issue of Care Home Management magazine, there are plenty of examples of care homes taking the view that residents’ activities are something all staff can get involved with – and for those that do, their carer role becomes even more satisfying.

    This issue will be available for Care Forum event delegates to take away, so why not come along and grab your free copy?

    AUTHOR

    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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