Severe loneliness can be a heart-breaking ordeal for anyone, often forming a cage that can ensnare even the healthiest of minds.
Sadly, the concept of isolation and loneliness is an all-too-common occurrence in contemporary society, despite the many ways in which connectivity is frequently promoted on the digital stage.
Although incredibly useful for many, the virtual world cannot always provide clarity in its promised solutions, especially for seniors who may feel like they have trouble navigating its intricacies. It is important to note that there are indeed platforms that are easier to use than others, making them viable options in the effort to remain connected.
There are, however, many ways in which you can start to help combat feelings of loneliness in yourself and in others. Wanting to care for your elderly relatives, friends, loved ones, and strangers is a perfectly natural feeling, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
As Britain moves ever closer to a future free from lockdown restrictions, many people are feeling apprehensive about what their new normal will have in store for them.
If you felt as though you want to do more to help combat the detrimental effects of loneliness in vulnerable older people, here are some of the best methods you may wish to consider employing.
Make Yourself Accessible
Feeling as though you have no one to turn to can be a dreadful position to be in. This can serve to exacerbate the problem of loneliness and isolation immensely.
In this regard, it is important to make yourself readily accessible to your elderly loved ones so that they know they have someone who can listen to their thoughts in their time of need.
Making yourself reachable via any platform you can utilize is a fantastic way to nurture a reliable support network. Even if it is something as simple as writing a letter or sending a text, a gesture that may appear to be small can have a huge impact on anyone who is suffering from feelings of loneliness.
This can be true of elderly people who feel like they are becoming invisible to others, a terrible situation to be in that can be rectified by offering even a few minutes of your time.
Commit to Making Regular Visits or Phone Calls
As life goes on, friends and family will often head in their own directions, taking their home further afield as they explore their goals, careers, and an endless wealth of possibilities.
Without a certain amount of nurture, this concept can make falling out of touch with one another a very real possibility.
Nobody can truly know what their future holds, but they can take measures to ensure that their loved ones are part of that future in some capacity.
By committing to making regular visits, phone calls, or video calls, you can help to strengthen this connection between you and your loved ones, making sure to keep them in the picture. Feeling as though the world has left you behind can be a terrible position to be in and one that can evoke loneliness and disillusionment.
This can establish a routine essential, as some semblance of order can help add a structure to someone’s calendar, giving them something to look forward to and an avenue of insight into the wider world, hopefully allowing them to feel like they are once again valued.
Consider a Career in Residential Care
For those of you who want to start making a positive difference to society in general or are hoping to find a more meaningful career in light of a post-pandemic world, you may wish to consider a career in residential care for the elderly.
There are many roles available for a diverse range of talented, passionate, and empathic individuals, from care providers to administrative work and practically everything in between.
You might find it beneficial to look into getting your RCFE certification, which can help you on the crucial first step.
Residential care facilities are home to millions of stories, memories, personalities, and people who need support and love in order to make society an enjoyable place for everyone.
You may discover that you can personally help to tackle the growing concerns about loneliness and animosity towards the elderly population while simultaneously developing both your personal and professional skills in an invigorating, rewarding new field.
Ways to Offer Your Support
If you happen to know of any elderly relatives in need of everyday support, it might be worth checking in on them to find out ways in which you can help.
If you feel safe enough to do so, you may wish to help them with their online shopping, collect their deliveries or parcels, or simply offer them a friendly face to have a chat with.
Helping to create a sense of community and togetherness can be invaluable in alleviating feelings of loneliness. You can perhaps start to develop this by baking them something, even if your creation is unworthy of the bake-off; usually, the thought is what counts.
Starting a virtual book club or even a weekly book swap can help to let people know they have friends they can rely on, hobbies they can pick up, and social activities to participate in, even if it happens to be from a distance.
Sometimes, just opening up a dialogue between you can make a world of difference. It can even start with a small sentiment, such as asking them how it’s going.
Volunteering can pertain to a wide range of areas and does not necessarily mean you have to risk your own physical health if you were feeling weary about the coronavirus restrictions.
There are many helplines and opportunities that require the aid of volunteers, which you could even do in the comfort of your own home in your spare time.
This can be a brilliant way of engaging directly with those who need their voices to be heard, as being there for someone who needs to share their feelings, even though the receiver of a telephone can combat feelings of loneliness.
It can be important to note that this can work as a two-way operation; if you happen to be feeling like you need a chat with someone to shoo away your loneliness, this could be hugely beneficial for everyone involved.
There are times when sharing your thoughts with your friends and loved ones might feel embarrassing, trivial, or unimportant, but in terms of your mental wellbeing, no issue or feeling is insignificant if it affects the way you are thinking. This can be a vital point to remember in the effort to beat loneliness.
Promote Digital Connectivity
For many, interacting with modern technology and making full use of the digital platforms available is second nature and an intrinsic part of everyday life. However, getting to grips with computers is an uphill struggle and an unfamiliar concept, to say the least.
It seems a shame that people should be denied access to the fundamental need for human interaction solely based on their lack of technological understanding.
This is why promoting the best and easiest to use communication platforms is a crucial endeavor at times.
The personability and poetry one can find in the prose of a handwritten letter are still as majestic as ever before, if not more so, but sometimes a video call is the next best medium to an in-person meeting.
Taking the time to teach your elderly loved ones how to operate this technology can be a pursuit in and of itself that helps to combat loneliness.
It can be vital to remember, practicing patience is key when it comes to helping someone who is struggling, as this can help make people feel cared for, one of the most prevalent factors in the fight against loneliness.