Feeling lonely might not seem like a major issue, but the knock-on effect can be worse than you think. Being socially isolated is more than just an emotional experience and can actually be harmful to heath. Research equates a lack of social connections to have a similar premature death risk as smoking around 15 cigarettes a day, and to have a greater impact on overall health than obesity and physical inactivity.
If you’re feeling lonely, you could be jeopardising your physical health as well as your mental wellbeing, so it’s important to recognise the problem and to make changes to tackle it. Here are three great ways you can combat loneliness and start enjoying your golden years just a little bit more.
- Get involved! We are always trying to find new activities and initiatives for our residents to enjoy. Even if the activity isn’t something that you’d normally choose to do, why not see it as a chance to try a new experience, to connect with new people and to enrich your day.
- Open your door to friends and family Just as we do in our homes, welcoming visitors, whether it’s your family or friends; extending an invitation is always encouraged. You’d be surprised by how many people would love to come and enjoy a cup of tea and a chat with you!
- Learn to use technology
Even if the internet remains something of a mystery to you, there are so many ways to make use of this fantastic communication facility. From easy-to-use tablet computers to voice-activated messaging services, finding your way with modern technology could help you stay in touch with people more easily, particularly if your family lives far away.
Loneliness should not be seen as just a normal part of growing older. If you feel lonely all or part of the time, it’s crucial that you recognise the signs, and talk to someone sooner rather than later. Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but when you feel lonely more often than not, it’s time to take steps to get your life back on track.