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Community-based approaches to elderly loneliness

by Kirsty Kirsty

Loneliness among the elderly is a growing concern, and whilst many people believe that feeling lonely is an inevitable aspect of getting older, it is actually an avoidable part of ageing. Despite this, as the population ages and traditional family structures change, the reported figures of loneliness among the elderly are growing. Working in home care, I’ve seen first hand how community-based approaches to combating loneliness are some of the best and most inclusive solutions, and below I go into some of them.

One effective community-based approach is the establishment of social clubs, specifically those designed for older adults and OAPs. These clubs provide opportunities to socialise, share problems with people who may be of a similar age and in a similar situation, as well as a chance to engage in various activities. These centres often serve as a hub for information and resources, connecting seniors with essential services. For example, New Age Care’s ‘Wednesday Activity Club’ has seen visits from a financial expert, a session with a voice coach, a visit from the fire service, and a police fraud squad talking about scam prevention, providing the elderly with skills and knowledge to help navigate later life.

Intergenerational programmes also play a crucial role in reducing elderly loneliness. Schools, community organisations, and local businesses often collaborate to develop these programmes, such as storytelling sessions, gardening projects, and technology workshops. These sessions can be mutually beneficial, allowing younger generations to learn from the experiences of older generations while providing elders with a sense of purpose and connection. It also helps those whose family have family, or loved ones who live nearby, to feel a sense of belonging.

Home care services can play its part in helping to solve elderly loneliness. Home care providers not only offer personalised care but provide companionship to individuals in the comfort of their own homes. They can offer emotional support, social interaction and help to maintain a sense of routine. By enabling elders to stay in familiar environments, home care services play a crucial role in preventing isolation and promoting a higher quality of life, whether that’s providing live-in care or popping in for several hours a week.

Addressing elderly loneliness requires different approaches that should include community-based initiatives. By creating inclusive and supportive environments, we can ensure that our older population remains connected and valued, and younger generations don’t miss out on the wealth of knowledge and life experience they have to share.

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