Elderly Care

Loneliness In The Elderly:
What To Look Out For

3 min read
Care to Share

oneliness in the elderly is a growing concern within the UK, particularly within Care Homes.

Moving from a familiar place of independence and fond memories, into a care home can be an emotionally difficult time. Although the transition from independence to dependence can pass smoothly for some residents, a lot of others may find the process slow and difficult.

Despite most care homes offering interactivity during the day, it is still possible for elderly patients to feel incredibly isolated and lonely.

As a care giver it is important that we can identify the common signs of loneliness and help residents combat it. Loneliness can have a serious effect on elderly people, as it can encourage dementia and other life changing illnesses.

Spotting Loneliness

Loneliness can be caused for many different reasons. It is common to see loneliness in an individual that has recently lost a partner or close friend, or a person that is in poor physical health. An elderly person may also feel loneliness if they are living in a residential care home that is away from family and friends.

3 common signs of loneliness include:

Changes in behavior

If you are caring for a person that is feeling down or deflated, they may start withdrawing from others within the care home. You may find a lack of willingness to participate in group activities and even changes in appetite.

Verbal clues

Although a resident may not directly use the words ‘lonely’ try and listen for verbal clues that indicate loneliness. Often this may be an individual mentioning that they do not see family members of friends often or wishing that they could see loved ones more frequently.

Daily routine changes

Becoming complacent at bedtimes is a common sign that someone is experiencing loneliness. Sleeping for longer periods of time than usually is common for individuals suffering with loneliness.

Help prevent loneliness

Helping to prevent loneliness during a shift is very important and rewarding. Putting a smile on a resident’s face after weeks of feeling down and deflated will not only make you feel like you have achieved something wonderful, but it also has a massive impact on the lives of those suffering.

You can help prevent loneliness by:

Taking time to sit and listen

Residents may be older, but they certainly have a few good stories and life lessons to share. The great thing about caring for another individual, is that you get to learn more about the person you care for. Sharing a part of your life or simply listening to their stories can greatly benefit yourself and your resident.

Encourage resident engagement

When a resident first moves into a care home they may resist against any group activities. Although this is normal at the beginning, if left it can develop into isolation. Gently encourage individuals to participate in group activities that you may think are suitable.

Give extra support to seniors who have recently lost a partner

When you have shared your life with a beloved partner for many years, the sudden loss can leave a person feeling lost and vulnerable. Giving them that extra support can make all the difference to a bereaved resident.