World Parkinson’s Day ( x px)

Loneliness Awareness Week 10th – 16th June

We’re biologically wired for social contact, and loneliness is our signal that we are lacking in meaningful social connections with others. Loneliness is not something to feel embarrassed or ashamed of, it is experience by almost everyone at one time or another.

There is a common misconception that loneliness is only experienced by people who are alone, loneliness can affect people who do not feel heard or acknowledged by those around them. This can be felt when relationships lack emotional depth or when communication has broken down.

Understanding the reasons for feeling lonely can help people to identify and manage these feelings and reduce loneliness. Some people experience it occasionally, such as holidays or anniversaries, while others feel lonely all the time, this is sometimes called chronic loneliness.

Loneliness and the Elderly

According to Age UK, 3.6 million elderly people live alone in the UK, with 1.9 million older people reporting that they feel ignored or invisible. Older people are especially vulnerable to social isolation, with over 75s being most affected.

Social isolation occurs when people have a lack of social contact and few people to interact with regularly; this can often lead to loneliness as people are not able to have meaningful connections with others they need. Lonely people often find it difficult to reach out, elderly people tend not to ask for help and there is a stigma surrounding loneliness; leading to many people suffering in silence.

Random Acts of Connection

This year’s Loneliness Awareness Week’s theme is “Random Acts of Connection”, encouraging everyone to increase those moments of connection, which help people feel happier, less lonely and more accepted.

These uplifting moments could be as simple as exchanging a smile with a stranger in the street or making small talk with someone in a queue. These small moments of connection can have a significant impact on our sense of happiness and belonging.

Known as ‘weak ties’, these connections could be made with acquaintances, colleagues, neighbours or even complete strangers. Although these interactions can seem superficial, they can help people to build bonds, after all, every friendship starts with an initial casual interaction.

Weak ties do not need to lead to a long-term friendship to be beneficial, research has found that casual interactions increase our feeling of being socially connected and our overall happiness.

How to Connect

Here are some random acts of connection to try:

  • Smile at a passerby
  • Chat to the person next to you on the bus/train
  • Join a local meet-up
  • Chat to the person serving you
  • Compliment someone
  • Call someone you have lost contact with
  • Make uninterrupted time for loved ones

Companionship Care

At Caremark NI, we provide a specialised service that offers companionship sits to vulnerable adults and elderly people in the community.

This care allows people the opportunity to connect with others, either by spending time with one of our Care Assistants perhaps playing a game or having a chat; or being supported in accessing their community, such as attending a coffee morning or going shopping.

If this is something you or a loved one would benefit from, get in touch today by calling us on 028 9146 7004 or emailing privatecare@caremark.co.uk

Memory Café

In 2021 Caremark NI the first Health and Social Care provider in the UK to launch our Memory Café. Participants have the opportunity to do a wide range of activities from arts and crafts to musical sing-a-longs.  We have held tea parties and themed days.  We have also enjoyed fun filled day trips out to local places like Eden Pottery and took part in community art projects with local schools.

The Memory Café is a free service, and is for anyone who has a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or other diagnosed cognitive impairments such as Parkinson’s, MS, Stroke or brain injury.  We would ask that when attending if clients/service users/customers could please be accompanied by a family member or carer.

If the Memory Café is something you or a loved one would like to attend, please contact our Wellbeing Manager, Christopher at our Head Office on 02891467004 or alternatively email christopher.downes@caremark.co.uk

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