Alliance Call & Care fully understands that social isolation and loneliness are precipitated by a number of factors, including living alone, health problems and disability.
This is made worse if there is a drop in communication with family or friends at the same time or even a move to an unfamiliar neighbourhood. An emphasis on senior independence under these circumstances can lead to increased physical isolation and social disengagement, and trigger instability and insecurity.
Apart from general feelings of sadness and loneliness, the impact of isolation and the shrinking of social networks can lead to a variety of negative physical and emotional effects in the elderly.
In the United Kingdom, the Campaign to End Loneliness concludes that the lack of social relationships is as strong a risk factor for mortality as smoking, obesity or the lack of physical activity. Similarly, older adults who are lonely have an increased risk of dying sooner and are more likely to experience a decline in their mobility, compared to those who are not.
Interestingly, but sadly, there is a trend for older people to present to hospital emergency departments, not necessarily due to medical problems but for social interactions, or because they are simply not coping.
One report states that feelings of loneliness are linked to poor cognitive performance, quicker cognitive decline and the increased risk of dementia. It has also been stated that that is a link between social isolation and higher rates of elder abuse. Researchers aren’t certain whether this is because isolated adults are more likely to fall victim to abuse, or it’s a result of abusers attempting to isolate the elders from others to minimise the risk of discovery. Irrespective of the cause, this vulnerability is a cause for concern.
Numerous studies have shown that loneliness is a major risk factor for depression, with increased symptoms in both middle-aged and older adults.
By receiving a daily telephone call from an Alliance Companion we hope to eliminate the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Please read 'The Benefits' to learn how others have benefited from our scheme.