Lets combat Loneliness - Dec 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a dramatic impact on our mental health and in turn the feeling of loneliness, as people are no longer able to keep to their familiar routines and are unable to see their families and loved ones.

This is particularly worrying for older people, many of who live on their own. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. It is thought that loneliness can be as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The Campaign to End Loneliness, UK’s leading experts on loneliness in older age, are making it their mission to ‘End Loneliness’ and since 2011 have been sharing research, evidence and knowledge with thousands of other organisations and the public to make a difference to older people’s lives. They want to inspire everyone to connect and bring communities together across the UK. 

In 2018 they launched Be More Us which is a movement that celebrates small moments of connection, like saying hello to someone in your local shop or smiling at someone on the bus. This year, more than ever, it is so important to check-in with the people around you.
To watch their heartwarming campaign video visit https://bemoreus.org.uk/have-a...

A local charity, Small Acts of Kindness, is also helping to combat loneliness in our community by sourcing and distributing practical gifts to older people in Hertfordshire. They deliver Warm in Winter gift bags to elderly, socially isolated and lonely people. The bags contain everything from fleece blankets, hats and socks to sachets of hot drinks.

According to Small Acts of Kindness, it is thought that 1 in 5 older people spend their waking day alone. Many also struggle to keep warm at home but the charity have made sure that 24,000 older people in Hertfordshire are now warmer in their homes, happier and better connected to their communities.
For more information about how you can receive one of their bags visit https://www.smallactsofkindnes..
While we are still living in these difficult times and are unable to get out and about or interact with others easily, the feeling of loneliness is inevitable. But the internet and digital technology can be invaluable for staying in touch with family and friends, and can help with shopping and ordering prescriptions. Also video calling is a great way to chat with others. Keeping in touch with family, friends and other loved ones makes us feel connected and helps with feelings of loneliness. 
Age UK has a wealth of information available to help older people feel less alone. Visit https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/loneliness/

There are also services that tackle loneliness. If you like having a chat there are a number of services that could match you with someone to talk to, including:
Call in Time, set up by Age UK, which allows you to sign up for a free weekly friendship call. It can be a great way to speak to someone new. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/servi... 
Silverline offers weekly calls to people age 55 and over. This is a free service for people looking to have a chat with a friendly and supportive volunteer.