Many of us know that aging can be a difficult journey. Our joints and back and whole body seem to be always on strike! We try to keep going though, with the right help and rest. Yet there is another challenge facing our seniors that isn’t spoken of very often. Loneliness is an epidemic that is posing a serious problem for many across Australia. Experts are saying that due to cultural norms, aging logistics and isolation, more and more seniors are living lives without consistent and healthy interaction with others.
Isolation Is Serious
In order to understand the gravity of the loneliness challenge facing our elderly, it is important to note that loneliness and isolation are official forms of punishment in our prison systems. Going without consistent, healthy and safe social actions for long periods of time has significant effects on the mental and physical well-being of humans. Psychologists from around the world have studied the consequences of loneliness and have identified several symptoms, intensified feelings of low worth, depression, anxiety, shame and other mental health concerns were found to be highly present in isolated individuals.
Everyone Can Help
To tackle this undeniable trend in our society we all need to get involved. From family members to retail workers, to healthcare practitioners, aged care facilities and places of worship, we as a society need to train our eyes to see seniors that are isolated. Many times their isolation comes from limited mobility and a self-consciousness to either not be a burden or to manage on their own. We who are able-bodied and have social networks coming out of our ears have the opportunity to leverage our resources to bring seniors into a community in ways that suit them. Have a little chat with the senior you see every day at the park, ask if they want to pat your dog. Do the cliched thing and ask them if you can help carry their bags to the car. Ask them for the knitting pattern of the scarf they are wearing. All these little points of social contact may have far greater an impact that we can ever realise.
This social group in the United Kingdom provides a do-able and encouraging option for tackling loneliness in seniors. We hope you enjoy!
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