The impact of loneliness certainly comes as no stranger to the older generation, with physical and mental decline meaning that retired individuals find it increasingly more difficult to get out and about.
2.2 million people over the age of 75 in England live alone, according to Age UK – and from a health perspective, this is most certainly cause for concern.
The impact of prolonged loneliness and social isolation can lead to poor mental health – and, in turn, weakened physical health. Depression and anxiety are common amongst those who spend too much time alone – and plucking up the courage to ask for help is not always as simple as it seems.
When the time comes to accept that personal care assistance is needed, loneliness and available resources (or lack thereof) can play huge parts in the decision making process.
Availability of family members and/or friends
It’s no secret that working adults tackle numerous responsibilities on a daily basis. As a result, it can be hard to dedicate adequate time to their parents and/or grandparents; let alone provide informal care. Those that can dedicate enough time to their loved ones, though, may decide to offer informal healthcare on a regular basis.
Those whose family members are unable to provide inadequate informal care would do well to seek professional care options. It’s important to recognise when visits from family members are too infrequent – from mental, emotional and physical health points of view. If you find that you need more support or companionship, it may be a good idea to consider seeking a formal caregiver’s assistance a few times a week (or however often you need it).
If formal care is not available to you, perhaps from a financial standpoint, you may prefer to invest in an assisted living device. Promoting prolonged independence whilst offering peace of mind, artificial intelligence devices provide tailored support, picking up on personal habits and patterns to alert yourself, or your family member, of anything unusual. Similarly, it can help you stay connected with family and friends via its easy-to-use phone calling capabilities.
Physical risks associated with living alone
Those whose physical health has declined, which is, in fact, a common side effect of loneliness, may come to the realisation that it may be unsafe for them to spend prolonged periods alone in their home. This comes as upsetting thought for the older generation; many of them wish to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
When this time comes, depending on the level of skill and time needed, informal or formal care options become appropriate – but it does, of course, depend on what is already available to you.
Should you opt for informal care, installing Sentai into your home ensures that your family member/friend is informed of any trips or falls which may occur when they are not present. Directly connected to emergency services, too, the device can quickly source the relevant help you need.
Needing assistance with daily activities
Living alone can be difficult for anyone of any age – no matter their ability levels. Home maintenance and upkeep can be hard to achieve without the assistance of anyone else – and that’s without considering food shopping and personal care.
As we age, of course, these things become more difficult to achieve alone. A decline in physical health may mean that cleaning the more intricate crevices of your home becomes more of a challenge. Heading out to do the food shopping, too, becomes hard without assistance at hand. If you have friends and family living close to you, and they have the time, you can easily opt for informal care by asking them to help you do your weekly food shop and household chores.
If this is not available to you, however, you may benefit from seeking professional assistance to help you with your household chores. An assisted living device, too, can help you with your daily activities; with the ability to memorise lists and set reminders, you’ll never need to worry about forgetting the items you need when preparing for a grocery shop.
Are your needs adequately met?
If you are fortunate to have family and friends checking in on you regularly, it’s important to consider the level of care that they offer you. If you simply require companionship and basic support, it’s likely that this will be suitable for you at that time.
However, if your loved ones do have the time to give, but simply can’t offer the care you feel you need, or you spend prolonged periods of time alone, you might consider opting for formal care.
Informal care: The impact on your family member(s)
If your family members live close to you, but they are struggling to juggle their responsibilities and commitments, you may find that you are spending a lot of time alone regardless of your proximity to them.
If this is the case, and you notice they are struggling, try talking to them about seeking formal care options, or investing in an assisted living device to reduce the impact of loneliness.
At Sentai, it’s our mission to help the older generation live more independently, for longer. Informal care, paired with the use of an assisted living device, often suffices to offer the companionship and care that older individuals need when they live alone. And what’s more, the connecting mobile app means that family members gain peace of mind by having the ability to track their loved one’s activity whilst they aren’t present.
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