This week 17th to 21st June marks Loneliness Awareness Week 2019, the national campaign to raise awareness of loneliness and social isolation.
Feelings of loneliness can affect anyone, but certain members of society such as older people and those caring for loved ones are more likely to report feeling lonely some or all of the time.
Research from Age UK highlights the growing issue of loneliness in older people, with the number of over 50s experiencing loneliness set to reach two million by 2025/6.
Unpaid carers are also more likely to experience social isolation. A carer is anyone who cares for a friend, family member or neighbour due to illness, disability or old age.
Following Carers Week 2019 which also took place in June, research released by Carers UK shows unpaid carers are seven times more likely to say they are often or always lonely, compared to the general population.
Loneliness and lacking social connections are risk factors associated with a number of physical and mental health problems, including depression, sleep problems, impaired cognitive health and heightened vascular resistance.
The Whitgift Foundation is committed to tackling loneliness and social isolation in our community through our Whitgift Care services for older people and our Carers Information Service drop-in support centre.
Tackling loneliness in older people
Whitgift Care is an integral part of the Whitgift Foundation, and our three care homes are happy, thriving and secure communities where staff are on hand 24 hours a day to meet residents’ needs, whether it is a full programme of activities, a friendly chat or just a cup of tea.
Our homes have dedicated activities co-ordinators to organise a varied programme of social activities and entertainment, to help our residents maintain a dynamic and fulfilling daily life.
The 1596 Club, Whitgift Care’s day care service, also offers older people friendship and companionship through the range of social events on offer, as well as providing assistance with additional needs.
Annual social occasions such as summer garden parties, croquet tournaments and our Founders Day celebrations are all valuable events we provide to help ensure our residents and 1596 Club members feel less alone.
Tackling loneliness in Croydon’s carers
There are an estimated 33,000 carers in Croydon – that’s around 10% of the local population. The Carers Information Service provides information, advice and support for Croydon’s unpaid carers. The service runs the Carers Support Centre, a drop-in support centre that offers health, social and wellbeing activities for carers.
Whether it’s a dance or Tai Chi workshop or a free hot drink and a chat in the Carers Café, the centre aims to provide a welcoming and friendly space for carers to take a break and form social connections with other carers in the community.
The Carers Support Centre has a noticeable positive impact on those who attend, with 78% of carers who used the centre saying it has helped them feel less lonely and more socially connected.
Hear more about The Whitgift Foundation: