Companionship and the Community
Loneliness is one of the public health issues of our time and over the cold, dark, winter months these feelings can be heightened. Everyone should have companionship but many people in Brighton, Hove and Shoreham, especially the older generation, will go for hours, or even days, without any meaningful connection with others in their community. At Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham we are experts in companionship-led home care.
Home Instead surveyed more than 2,000 over 65s, with nine in ten stating that regular companionship would help them to stay mentally and physically healthy for longer.
Despite this, it was revealed that many older people felt lonely with over a quarter of over 65s saying they spent eight hours alone daily, with almost half (49%) of over 85s facing at least ten hours a day alone.However, hope is ever at hand for anyone feeling lonely or socially isolated in our community.
The following, taken from advice from the NHS and Age UK, lists some ways in which we can help others by offering companionship in the community:
Start a conversation: If you see an elderly neighbour on the street, stop and have a chat with them. Ask if they need any help with their shopping, posting letters or setting up their holiday decorations. I started to put this one into action by first making a conscious effort to smile and say hello.
Get to know your neighbour: If you don’t know your more senior neighbours, take the opportunity to introduce yourself when you see them and ask if you can help in any way. If you know someone who lives alone or doesn’t leave their house much, they might be a good person to reach out to and will most likely appreciate your effort.
Share a meal: Older people often need a hand cooking for themselves, so why not share your time with a neighbour by bringing them an extra serving of a hot, home cooked meal, or even a frozen portion they can heat up or microwave. Either way, your kind gesture is sure to be appreciated. There is a community service in Brighton, the Casserole Club, who can put you in touch with an isolated neighbour if you'd like to share a meal.
Share your time: A rewarding way to help combat loneliness is to volunteer or work for organisations that support older people. These often offer "befriending" or companionship for isolated adults.
It's the thought that counts: Something as simple as sending a card or posting one through the letterbox, dropping off a little present, or calling in for a cup of tea can go a long way to making a lonely person feel much better.
Doing just one of these kind deeds for an older person, or anyone who is socially isolated, can make a world of difference to someone’s life.
At Home Instead Brighton, Hove and Shoreham we also provide Companionship care to prevent loneliness. Many people we support simply want company and conversation, whether they live alone and cannot see their family and friends as often as they would like, or if they are recently bereaved and are finding it hard to adjust. Read more about our professional companion care here.