Feeling lonely is something many people will experience at some point in their lives and for some, particularly older people, loneliness can have a significant impact on their wellbeing.
Loneliness has been heightened during the current coronavirus pandemic with millions of people feeling isolated as the usual ways of seeing family, friends or just familiar faces have been put on pause during the various lockdowns.
Older people with mobility issues that need aids such as stairlifts and who struggle to get out of the house, as well as those who have been advised to shield during the pandemic, have been especially affected by loneliness being even more confined to their homes. It comes as no surprise that a recent study by Elder revealed that 1 in 3 older people were more lonely in the wake of COVID-19.
If you are suffering from loneliness or know someone that is, then there are lots of great resources out there that can really help, and this guide takes you through some of the best.
Join our Programme Director @RobinHewings tomorrow on a twitter chat between 1-2pm hosted by @NeilDotObrien to discuss #TacklingLoneliness and the findings of the APPG on Loneliness Enquiry @RedCrossPolicy @LizTwistMP #Loneliness #EndLoneliness #ConnectedRecovery #CharityTuesday https://t.co/h6F8znCGTq— Campaign to End Loneliness (@EndLonelinessUK) March 23, 2021
Campaign to End Loneliness have been experts in the field of loneliness and human connection since 2011. They share research, evidence and knowledge with thousands of other organisations and the public to make a difference in older people’s lives.
According to Campaign to End Loneliness, there are nine million lonely people in the UK who lack the friendship and support people need and their vision is that everyone can live a life free from chronic loneliness.
On their website, users will find a range of research into loneliness and social isolation as well as information and advice on what to do if you are feeling lonely.
Robin Hewings, Director of the Campaign to End Loneliness, said: “Nobody should be lonely in older age. We believe that loneliness is not inevitable. People of all ages need connections that matter.”
Suggested read: Lessons from Lockdown: Loneliness in the time of Covid-19
The campaign encourages people to start the conversation and for them to feel comfortable to admit they are feeling lonely and highlights that it’s ok to talk about it.
Let’s Talk Loneliness discuss how they want people to talk more openly about loneliness: “Now more than ever, loneliness is part of the public conversation. We want to use this opportunity to talk more openly about the impact of loneliness on people’s lives, and encourage everyone to take simple actions to help them feel more connected. We can all help each other to stay connected, even at a distance.”
Visitors to the website will be able to read inspirational stories as well as benefit from resources and organisations to help those of you feeling lonely. There is also a podcast you can listen to.
Suggested read: Loneliness and rural isolation
MIND provide advice and support to anyone who is experiencing a mental health problem and they campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
Although loneliness isn't in itself a mental health problem, MIND knows the two are strongly linked as feeling lonely can increase your risk of certain mental health problems.
They say: “Feeling lonely can also have a negative impact on your mental health, especially if these feelings have lasted a long time. Some research suggests that loneliness is associated with an increased risk of certain mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress.”
The MIND website also shares practical tips to help people manage feelings of loneliness as well as share other resources and places you can go for support.
Some of the services provided by MIND to help people suffering from loneliness and/or mental health include:
Suggested read: Tips to manage loneliness
Worried about what the future holds? Our helpline & webchat are open from 5pm until midnight. Call us on 0800 58 58 58, or chat to our trained helpline staff online.— CALM (@theCALMzone) March 23, 2021
No matter who you are or what you're going through, it's free, anonymous & confidential.https://t.co/AynQL3cAAA pic.twitter.com/swbA4z2BhX
Although CALM’s primary movement is to tackle suicide rates, it provides listening services, information and support for people who are feeling lonely.
There are a plethora of useful articles and resources that people can use on their site and they have been supporting more people than ever before through this challenging time.
If you are suffering from loneliness, then you can talk to CALM for free via phone on 0800 58 58 58 or web chat from 5pm to midnight every day. Their professional helpline workers are there to talk and to help you find ways to move forward.
Another alternative is to join a CALM Club who, when restrictions ease, will host exclusive events for like-minded people and send out newsletters with content about the things you love.
To find out more tips about how to tackle loneliness, you can visit the loneliness section of their website.
Suggested read: The Meaning Of Being Lonely
On this lockdown anniversary and #DayOfReflection we’re hosting a ‘A year on’ event which will discuss @CSO_Scotland funded research on the impact of lockdown on families of care home residents https://t.co/ONqEec3yhR @EdinburghUni @UniStrathclyde @UniWestScotland— Iriss (@irissorg) March 23, 2021
Iriss, a charity that has supported the social services workforce in Scotland since 2008, has lots of content and resources on its website about tackling loneliness and isolation.
These resources cover a range of topics to do with loneliness, including what it is, ways to tackle it and the effects of loneliness.
Below are just some of the resources on their website that might help you:
When They Get Older helps people to support older family and friends by sharing a wealth of articles, news and stories that provide practical ideas and useful information.
Topics cover health, financial, care, quality of life and family, but there are a range of articles and guides for people to help older family members who are suffering from loneliness.
Their guide about ‘Helping your parents to overcome loneliness’ is one such useful resource. The guide looks at why loneliness is an issue for older people, how it occurs, what you can do about your parents’ loneliness and top tips for overcoming loneliness.
Other useful resources on the site are:
The coronavirus pandemic has seen an increase in loneliness amongst the older population in the UK. Some people have had to shield during the pandemic, while others who suffer from mobility issues and need aids such as curved stairlifts have felt more isolated without being able to see their friends and family. If you or an older relative or friend is suffering from loneliness or is feeling isolated, then these are some of the best online resources that you can head to.