13 April 2018

How does loneliness impact your life?

The sad global phenomenon that is loneliness is one that many feel will never pass. It has been proven to impact your mortality rate by nearly 26%! With loneliness prevalent among the older generation, there are almost three quarters of elderly people in the UK failing to tell anyone about how isolated they’re feeling. We take a look at the signs of loneliness and what you can do to prevent it.

People slip into social isolation for a variety of reasons, such a leaving the workplace, or the death of a spouse or close friend. Our Newcross nurses and healthcare assistants are trained to spot the signs. 

There are three different types of loneliness:

  1. Situational loneliness, which is associated with environmental factors
  2. Developmental loneliness, which occurs due to factors including poverty, living arrangements, and physical/psychological disabilities
  3. Internal loneliness, which derives from low self-esteem and poor coping strategies

How can loneliness impact on a person’s physical health?

The Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, states that those who are lonely is linked to diabetes, autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease. Evidence also suggests that those feeling alone may also suffer with abnormally high blood pressure, by up to fourteen points.

Loneliness and mental health

Although loneliness in itself is not a recognised mental health issue. However, the two can in fact, be attributed to one another. It is vital to maintain social relationships in order to satisfy your mental wellbeing. Failing to adhere to our human need for interaction, may lead to psychiatric disorders, such as depression, alcohol abuse and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to spot loneliness in someone you’re caring for?

  • Drastic changes in their routine e.g. waking up a lot later in the morning.
  • Putting less effort into their physical appearance and/or hygiene.
  • Frequently expressing negative thoughts.
  • Eating considerably less than they usually would.

Remember also, it is possible to feel lonely whilst surrounded by friends or family.

So what to do if you’re feeling lonely

  • Give someone a ring.
  • Write upcoming events in a diary on a calendar. This will give you things to look forward to an encourage you to make plans more often.
  • Join a club or find an activity you enjoy doing – this could be at your local community centre, for example.
  • Get to grips with a computer. You can email your relatives or give them a Skype call.
  • However unsure or reluctant you may feel to have a conversation, put yourself out there and you might make a new friend.

To find out more about differences you can make, visit here for information and advice.