Guest Blog: Loneliness

Posted in: News on January 14, 2013

Whilst listening to a TV broadcast recently my attention was caught by a campaign Len Goodman is championing around loneliness and older people. He also features in an Express article ‘WE MUST KEEP AN EYE ON ELDERLY LOVED ONES’ where he is spearheading a campaign around letting older people know what help is available to them. As a ‘front-line’ advocate for people with dementia, this has made me think about the clients that I have worked with over the years and how dementia is a contributing factor to their loneliness. There is research from everydayhealth.com that shows people who have a strong social support and are socially active are less likely to have dementia symptoms. However once people start to experience cognitive impairment they may withdraw and feel lonely which in turn increases their risk of depression and dementia. Generally people do not know how to talk to older people with dementia and are sometimes afraid! So putting off visiting relatives and neighbours will increase loneliness. The Beth Johnson Foundation is one of the founder members of the ‘Campaign to End Loneliness’ and recently hosted an event for interested groups (16 organisations were represented, including the fire service, three councils, local libraries, older people’s fora, charities and arts groups) in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to promote the campaign for loneliness pilot that is just being launched to work with the Health and Wellbeing Board in Staffordshire. As an advocate the clients ‘issue’ is of primary importance however for the client loneliness and isolation are upmost in their minds. I feel it is very important that social contact should be encouraged so visit your family and neighbours who you have not seen. Sit and engage in conversation, reminiscence on past times and have a cuppa and a biscuit with them. Jane SnapeDementia AdvocateBeth Johnson FoundationUseful link for Alzheimer's SocietyPlease read comments below


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sharon cartwright   14th Jan 2013 at 20:07

Well put jane, should be more people like yourself to help the elderly in these circumstances or even just to be there for lonely elderly people & to help get the message accross. Nobody knows what will happen to us when we get older and lonely but it would be nice to know the help & care is available.

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