Are you old enough to remember when people were not so lonely?
Do you recall when things changed?
Many of us older folk, baby boomers and older, can recall more social lives.
Remember running in and out of our friend’s parent’s houses, grandparents, aunts and uncles butting in giving us advice? Extra places set at the table for cousins?
Sharing our toys and space as a matter of course? It was crowded, right?
It was not all rosy and fun but it was not lonely, right?
British Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered by a far-right terrorist in 2016 was in process of establishing the “Commission on Loneliness” to combat social isolation when she was killed.
In January of 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Jo Cox recognised the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected”
How to help lonely elderly people
- Start a conversation. Stop and talk. Don’t hurry them.
- Offer practical help, such as shopping, posting a letter, picking up prescriptions or walking their dog
- Offer to accompany them or give them a lift to medical appointments, the library, hairdressers or faith services
- Share your time – volunteer with an organisation that has befriending services matching you with an isolated elderly person for home visits or regular phone calls
- Help with household tasks – offer to take out the rubbish, change light bulbs, clear snow, put up pictures
- Share a meal – take round an extra plate of hot home-cooked food or a frozen portion
… and lonely younger people
- Reach out. Arrange to meet face to face or talk on the phone
- Encourage people to start conversations, whether a short face-to-face chat or joining an online discussion
- Offer to go to a class or group activity with them
- Suggest they look for talking treatments in their local area to help them manage the mental health effects of loneliness or recommend an online support community like Elefriends
- Listen and don’t make assumptions. People can feel lonely even if it looks like they have a busy and full life
MP Tracey Crouch
Two recent articles about this new Minister for loneliness role
- Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford, has been appointed “Loneliness Minister” by Theresa May.
- A minister for loneliness, a project first started by the late MP Jo Cox, has been announced by Downing Street.
Four more articles about loneliness in the United Kingdom