International Day of Older People

Did you know that October 1st is the International Day of Older People? Older People How many older people do you know are they lonely that is not just being alone! Loneliness is an emotional state in which a person experiences a powerful feeling of emptiness and isolation. Loneliness is more than just the feeling of wanting company or wanting to do something with another person. Loneliness is a feeling of being cut off, disconnected, and/or alienated from other people, so that it feels difficult or even impossible to have any form of meaningful human contact. Lonely people often feel empty or hollow inside. Feelings of separation or isolation from the world are common amongst those that are lonely.  Loneliness should not be equated with being alone. Everyone has times when they are alone for situational reasons, or because they have chosen to be alone. Being alone can be experienced as positive, pleasurable, and emotionally nourishing if it is under the individual’s control. Solitude is the state of being alone and secluded from other people, and often implies having made a conscious choice to be alone. Age UK, provides charitable services for senior citizens. It supports people with a full range of issues from supporting people to claim the correct benefits that they are entitled to, it offers care and support when needed and helps people cope with loneliness especially following bereavement. Loneliness is a massive issue for people in later life in the UK. Half of all people aged 75 and over live alone, and 1 in 10 people aged 65 or over say they are always or often feel lonely – that’s just over a million people.  Shockingly, half of all older people consider the television their main form of company. To tackle the problem of loneliness among older people, Age UK has developed befriending services. The service works by assigning each older person a befriender, who provides friendly conversa tion and companionship on a regular basis over a long period of time. Sometime this is by telephone and some where a volunteer visits the person at home. This vital service provides a link to the outside world and often acts as a gateway for other services and valuable support. The telephone befriending service called “Call in Time”, which consists of a regular daily or weekly phone call. The relationship is structured so that each befriender makes the call at a reg ular pre-agreed time. All befrienders are volunteers, who freely give up their time to help lonely older people. There is a “Big Knit” programme going on around the country all you have to do is Knit a small hat, big enough to fit over the top of an ‘innocent’ brand of smoothie drinks. Send the completed hat(s) by mid October to Age UK, where they will be crowned on top of ‘innocent’ drink bottles. For every behatted ‘innocent’ drink bottle sold in the UK, 25p will be donated to Age UK. So please purchase these drinks and support the loneliness of older people. The Psychiatrists say that loneliness is “the only disease that can be cured by adding two or more cases together.” To the extent that loneliness is caused by depression, it may be helped by similar treatments, such as various forms of psychotherapy, anti-depressant medications, or both. Another treatment for both loneliness and depression is pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy. The presence of animal companions — dogs, cats, and even rabbits or guinea pigs — can ease feelings of depression and loneliness among elderly people. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are a number of health benefits associated with pet ownership: In addition to easing feelings of loneliness, because of the increased opportunities for socialising with other pet owners, in addition to the companionship the animal provides, having a pet is associated with lowered blood pressure and decreased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.