Statistics from the Age UK website say that 1.7million older people, in England alone, can go for a month without meeting up with a friend over the Christmas period. They also found that around 300,000 over 65s had not had a conversation with friends or family over the same period within that group. This data is from 2017, so it’s not hard to imagine how much worse it could be this year. 

Our elderly family members can find the Christmas holidays difficult, whether it’s the shorter and colder days or the isolation and loneliness. This Christmas, unlike any other, families will be making the tough decision about who they can see safely and within the government guidelines.

As we all know, there comes the point in our lives where travelling becomes difficult or staying in someone else’s home is perhaps not possible for safety reasons or because it lacks the equipment needed. No one wants to leave their grandparents or parents out during the Christmas holidays. However, 2020 is definitely going to be different for their safety and wellbeing. Having lots of visitors is not possible, and having them in your home might also not be an option, depending on the government’s guidelines. So Christmas could end up being very lonely for some people this year.

The facts about loneliness

Some of these facts will be hard to hear, but this is exactly why we need to share them with you so you can have an informed opinion on what is best for your elderly relatives.

  • Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
  • Loneliness, living alone, and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is worse for you than obesity. (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness and social isolation are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke [1]
  • Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure [2]
  • Loneliness and social isolation put individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia [3]
  • The number of over-50s experiencing loneliness is set to reach two million by 2025/6. This compares to around 1.4 million in 2016/7 – a 49% increase in 10 years [4]
  • Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all [5]
  • Well over half (59%) of those aged 85 and over and 38% of those aged 75 to 84 live alone [6]
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company [7]

We’ve added the references to the bottom of this page, and further information can be found on the Campaign to End Loneliness website.

How to help your elderly relatives this Christmas?

If we were looking at tackling loneliness in anything like an ordinary year, we might suggest visiting relatives more often or having them in your home over the Christmas period. However, for many this year, some of these things are either not possible or not safe to do.

When our elderly family members are no longer able to travel or stay elsewhere safely, what options do you have in 2020?

Aside from calling more often and sending them emails or posts, living in care or home care is a great way to keep your elderly relatives happy, healthy, and social.

What is live-in care?

Our Live-in care is a bespoke specialist care and support service tailored to the needs of an individual or couple who prefer to stay in their own home. Your elderly relatives will remain in their own home whilst a single specialist carer lives with them to provide round-the-clock personal care and support.

What is home care?

Our fully-regulated visiting Home Care service is for anybody who wants to live independently at home but needs a little extra help around the house. It could be that somebody needs temporary support following a hospital stay, or it might be that they require help managing a long-term condition like Parkinson’s. Our visiting carers often become a lifeline for those that are feeling isolated or alone. It’s hard to put a value on the effect that a friendly face at the door can have on your day, especially when you’re feeling low or like you can’t manage in the same way you used to.

Live-in care vs home care for the elderly

Both options allow your elderly relative to stay at home and assist them in everyday activities, all whilst giving them the company that every person deserves and needs. Mental health is so important.

So over Christmas, you would be able to guarantee that your relatives are being looked after physically and mentally.

Further Information

Please do not hesitate to get in touch for more information about the services we provide here at Clarendon Live-in care or to discuss the best options for your family. The Clarendon live-in care team would be delighted to help. You can call us on 0208 439 7722, or if you would prefer to e-mail us, please contact us at enquiries@clarendonliveincare.co.uk

References

[1] Valtorta, N.K., Kanaan, M., Gilbody, S., Ronzi, S. and Hanratty, B., 2016. Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies. Heart, 102(13), pp.1009-1016.
[2] Hawkley, L.C., Thisted, R.A., Masi, C.M. and Cacioppo, J.T., 2010. Loneliness predicts increased blood pressure: 5-year cross-lagged analyses in middle-aged and older adults. Psychology and ageing, 25(1), p.132.
[3] Cacioppo, J.T. and Cacioppo, S., 2014. Older adults reporting social isolation or loneliness show poorer cognitive function 4 years later. Evidence-based nursing, 17(2), pp.59-60.
[4] Age UK 2018, All The Lonely People
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/loneliness/loneliness-report_final_2409.pdf
[5] Age UK 2016, No-one should have no one
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/No-one_Should_Have_No-one_Working_to_end_loneliness.pdf?dtrk=true
[6] https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105214013/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census-analysis/do-the-demographic-and-socio-economic-characteristics-of-those-living-alone-in-england-and-wales-differ-from-the-general-population-/story-characteristics-of-those-living-alone.html
[7] Age, U.K., 2014. Evidence Review: Loneliness in Later Life. London: Age UK