Cuppa and a Smile
We all read in the media over and over again about the prevalence of older people being lonely and the effect that loneliness can have on the individual. Loneliness can have wide reaching implications to physical and mental health resulting in feeling isolated, even for those who actually live with their partners/family. They may have to care for a partner and this is turn reduces their ability to socialise and engage with other people.
The Campaign to End Loneliness lists many statistics which were gathered using university academics, other researchers, practitioners etc. and highlights the difficulties, effect and difference between emotional and social loneliness.
Over 50% of people over the age of 75 live alone and many have none or very little contact with family or friends. Where there is some contact with others it may not necessary fulfil the needs of the individual and therefore still results in loneliness. For some, television is their only company.
With this in mind I welcomed the article in the Telegraph about a police officer calling in to check on a 95 year old couple who rang Greater Manchester Police because they felt lonely. Those few minutes spent chatting and having a cuppa with them must have made their day. It goes to show that even though they were a couple, and had a support network, (if you read the article you will understand why they might feel lonely), they needed the social interaction of someone outside that circle. Policing is not just about catching criminals it’s about community cohesion and ensuring that members of the public are safe. To read the article in the Telegraph Click Here
Note: The Beth Johnson Foundation have been supporters of the Campaign to End Loneliness from the start, and have been involved in the development of their campaign work. We are the Staffordshire Partner in the campaign ‘Loneliness Harms Health’ .