Ten tips to help combat loneliness
According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, it is predicted that the number of older people experiencing loneliness will increase by two million by 2025/26.
However, we at Brendoncare are committed to preventing loneliness among older people. To mark Loneliness Awareness Week (12th-16th June), Sara Nicholls, Brendoncare’s Community Support Service Manager, gives her top ten tips on how to combat loneliness.
- Join a community group
Meeting new people can be daunting for some people, but Brendoncare’s network of community clubs across Hampshire and Dorset offer something for everyone. As well as enjoying a range of activities including films and pub quizzes, our social clubs are perfect places to meet other people and make new friends. A list of all our clubs are on our website: https://www.brendoncare.org.uk/community-clubs/
- Stay in touch
It has never been easier to keep in contact with family and friends across the globe by computer, tablet or mobile phone. If you are uncertain how to make the most of being connected, Brendoncare volunteers can help you learn about this at your own pace. Give us a call on 01962 857099 to find out more.
- Become a volunteer
Organisations in your local community are always looking for people to come and support them in many different ways. Previous work experience such as administration or retail are always in demand. Organising and raising a family also means you have many valuable skills that could be of benefit to others. If you join one of Brendoncare’s community clubs, you could become a volunteer club leader or perhaps you would like to support one of our care homes, maybe helping to organise activities or running its mobile shop. We also have volunteering opportunities that you can do from home, helping others to stay connected.
- Stay active
How we feel physically can affect our mental health and wellbeing. Make sure you are eating healthily and regularly, keeping hydrated and getting plenty of sleep. A healthy body and mind go hand in hand so why not join one of our Zumba or Tai Chi classes. Our Kurling clubs are also fantastic for keeping active. For a gentler way of keeping fit, Brendoncare runs seated exercise classes both in person and online which are always lots of fun.
- Look for alternatives in your housing arrangements
Extra care or sheltered housing developments offer a chance to be part of a community with people of a similar age. Perhaps if you are living by yourself, you might consider moving in with a friend so you can support each other. Brendoncare provides extra care housing (assisted living) that offers independent, self-contained living with domestic support and personalised care when needed. You can find out more about it here: https://www.brendoncare.org.uk/extra-care/ or one of our volunteers can help you look at other housing option.
- Get a pet or sign up for an animal charity
A dog or cat can provide companionship. If you choose a dog, it will also help you keep fit with the regular walks. Otherwise, you could consider being a volunteer for a charity like the Cinnamon Trust, which looks after people’s pets when they are not able to. The Cinnamon Trust – The National Charity for older people, the terminally ill and their pets
If you live in sheltered or rented accommodation, please check with your housing association or property owner to ensure they allow you to keep pets.
- Get learning
There are many organisations giving you a chance to boost our brainpower by learning something new like a foreign language. Your local library or Council will hold a list of further education classes in your area, or you can sign up for some of the courses offered by the u3a. https://www.u3a.org.uk/. You can do something creative such as writing a book or joining a choir. Brendoncare offers singing sessions just for fun both in person and online if you would like to get your voice heard!
- Apply for an older person’s bus pass or railcard
Save money and explore. Plan a day trip using the bus or the train. You can contact your local County Council to see if you qualify for a free bus pass and rail companies offer annual Railcards for a reasonable cost with give you a discount every time you take the train. Find out more online to see what other companies offer reduced prices for older people.
- Smile and say hello
Smiling at others can help you lift your mood, so why not take the time to get to know your neighbours by attending community events in your local area to help you build new relationships. Just remember that building new friendships does take time, so be patient and more importantly, be open to new experiences.
- Get in touch with Brendoncare’s Community Support Service
If you cannot attend Brendoncare’s community clubs in person, you can always log in to one of our online clubs, which offer a wide variety of talks, demonstrations and entertainment. If you are looking to take that all-important first step back towards making new friends, our support services offer you a chance to talk to one of our friendly, helpful volunteers either on the telephone. They are there to offer friendship or help you through a difficult time. If you are facing specific challenges physically, financially or emotionally, there are support groups there to help you. Brendoncare can assist you in helping you find the support you need in your local area.