There are many afflictions which have to be borne by the elderly, but one which they should not have to shoulder is loneliness.
According to the Office for National Statistics Labour Force Study, over two million people aged 75 years and over are living alone. Now living alone doesn’t necessarily mean one is lonely, but another survey carried out by the Campaign to End Loneliness shows that 800,000 people in England are chronically lonely. And that reflects badly on our society as a whole.
A recent survey of more than 2,500 adults in England, commissioned for BBC Radio 2 and BBC Local Radio’s Faith In The World Week, identified London as the loneliest place in the UK with a figure of 52% compared with 45% in the south west of England.
The issue of loneliness of the elderly also begs the question of whether it is up to government to intervene, or whether or not by some other means, society as a whole should be encouraged to be more caring to the elderly in our midst. It is one of life’s indisputable facts that the only thing to stop you becoming elderly is to die before reaching that state. And how many of us will want to be lonely when we do reach that age? None, of course, so it behoves those of with families to try and prevent this from happening to, for example, our own parents.
Living alone and drifting to loneliness can have a markedly detrimental affect on health as well as the psyche, although they are of course linked.
When one is isolated, there is less inclination to take physical activity, just sitting in front of the TV, or in a chair with a cup of tea. It can also lead to eating poorly as, again, cooking for one can be just too much bother.
Loneliness can also affect mental health, leading to depression and generally feeling low and forgotten.
The figures could actually be far worse, for many of those in residential care are all too often acutely lonely, rarely visited by relatives. We at The Graham Agency do not believe that residential care is the best option for many people who see this as the obvious and possibly only route for their elderly relatives who are in need of care.
We believe our relatives should stay in their own homes with a full-time carer to look after them. And yes, we DO feel it should be emphasised, because we need to draw attention to this option which simply does not occur to many who can afford it.
At The Graham Agency, we take care of all the issues, finding appropriate staff, interviewing, ,checking pointing you in the right direction for legal advice, tax issues, etc. We have been doing this for well over 25 years and we feel everyone with elderly relatives should at least speak with us to see how we can help. Do it now, for their sake.