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Tips to reduce loneliness

Tips to reduce loneliness

New Age Care News

Loneliness is the theme of this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

While most people will experience loneliness at some point in their life, for most, this is short term and temporary. For others however, including many older people, the feeling of loneliness is ongoing. They feel lonely for long periods of time, which can in turn affect their mental and physical health. According to Age UK, “1.4 million older people in the UK are often lonely.”

The causes of elderly loneliness

Loneliness in the elderly populations can come about for a number of reasons. The loss of a spouse family or friends, a relocation or an illness or disability. Sometimes it can just creep up over time.

Tips to reduce loneliness

There are lots of things an older person can do to try to reduce their loneliness. Here are our top tips.

Get online

Getting online is a great way to keep in contact with family and friends, or potentially make new friends. If you’re not confident with getting online then ask a friend or family to help. If you don’t have someone, then there are organisations that can help you. Age UK for example have some great information about started online.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/work-learning/technology-internet/getting-online/

They also run online training courses and your local library may also be able to help.

Social Groups

If going online isn’t for you, then consider joining local social or activity groups. Age UK have social events and activities across the country. Take the first step and see what’s happening in your area.

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/in-your-area/social-activities/

Your local Community Centre, library, church or museum may also put on social activities for older people, so pay them a visit or give them a call. If you have a specific interest or hobby then look for local groups that meet on a regular basis. Taking the first step can be scary but it could lead to new connections and friendships.

Take up a hobby

Taking up a new hobby can also be a great way to meet new people and connect. The added bonus is that you also learn a new skill and potentially find an activity you enjoy doing. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to try? Is there a hobby you had when you were younger that you’d like to try again? The list of possibilities is endless but could include drawing, playing cards, photography or walking.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet people and help out the community at the same time. It can give you a purpose and make you feel like you are making a difference, which in turn can help your mental health. Do-it.org is a database of UK volunteering opportunities. You can search more than a million volunteering opportunities by interest, activity or location and then apply online.

https://doit.life/volunteer

Talk to someone

There are a few organisations that offer help lines or befriending services for those that are feeling lonely or struggling with their mental health. Below are a few that are worth investigating.

Age UK

General Advice line - 0800 678 1602

Befriending Service

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/sign-up-for-telephone-befriending/

This service is free and involves having a chat to someone over the phone on a regular basis.

Mind

General helpline - 0300 123 3393

Samaritans

General helpline – 116 123

Pet Companionship

Pets can also make wonderful companions as well as helping to reduce stress and providing comfort. From dogs, to cats, to birds and rabbits, animals make great friends!

Boosting your mental health

If you’re not ready to directly reach out for social connection, then here are a couple of other things you can do to boost your mental health which may make reaching out easier.

Getting outside

Try to spend some time in nature each day. Visit a local green space such as a park or gardens. If getting out is not an option, perhaps watch a nature documentary or listen to the sounds of nature.

Exercising

Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as helping to boost your mood and give you more energy. Start small with some chair exercises or a short walk and increase the intensity or length over time.

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