A primary misconception about loneliness is that it can only affect those who live on their own and who don’t have regular social contact.
However, recent research shows that people who live in large schools, large houses and care homes experience significant loneliness, even if on paper they are surrounded by many people.
Care staff often have a lot on their plates and cannot always tend to every need of every care home resident, however, this will drastically impact loneliness in care home residents.
High levels of loneliness are also attributed to boredom. When residents may have been used to being active restrictions such as age can have a negative effect on self-worth.
Cause of loneliness
People are more likely to move around than they once would, so family units often become separated. This can lead to elderly people feeling lonely and isolated. Other cause of loneliness in the elderly include:
- Passing of a spouse and close friends
- Impaired mobility
- Retirement and losing touch of day to day interactions with
Losing those close can lead to closing off and not wanting to socialize. Loneliness quickly sets in.
Loneliness can then drive other mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, sleep problems, self-esteem issues and depression.
The Role Care Homes should take to help
Regular engagement with residents is essential. This goes beyond the general care they require but through events and activities. Such activities seek to drive companionship, empowerment, and mental stimulation.
Regular visits from family
Residents may form valuable friendships within the care home environment but seeing family on a regular basis adds another layer to feeling connected with those outside of the care home. This also reassures family members that their loved one’s lifestyles are catered for within the care home.
Events and activities
Providing an array of different activities and events will keep residents happy and entertained. This could lead to learning new skills of returning to a long-lost hobby. All of these could boost physical and mental strength and ultimately lead to happiness and wellbeing.
Creating a Community
Staff want the best for their residents and want to foster a deep sense of companionship and community spirit between themselves and residents as well as amongst residents themselves. In a thriving community, residents can have time to themselves but know that there is a strong and thriving community behind them.