Social isolation and loneliness

By nature, we are all social creatures who enjoy friendship, companionship, and meaningful relationships. However, approximately 28% of people over 65 report feeling socially isolated and lonely, with loneliness leading to associated health risks, says a 2020 study into the social isolation of older adults.

According to a tool rarely used in aged care in Australia, the UCLA Loneliness scale was first developed to measure the effects of social isolation in homeless youth, teen parents, and immigrants with low income. Having proven useful when applied to aged persons, results have shown 20% of elderly live alone with 3 times more females than males, with a total of 63% of people living alone feeling socially isolated and lonely.

Social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death, is associated with about a 50% percent increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. Loneliness among heart failure patients is associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.

Loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

And speed dating is the answer?

Ignite Dates in Brisbane claim the benefits of speed dating are varied. Speed dating provides a fun environment such as the local bowls club, it’s affordable for those on a pension, it’s quick meaning your date needs to get to the point, and you get to meet multiple people and enjoy conversations with others in similar situations, who you would have otherwise not met.

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

The National Poll on Healthy Ageing from 2018 shows us people over 65 want to continue getting jiggy with it with 76% believing sex is still a vital part of relationships. And the benefits? 45% of those having relations self-reported good health compared to 22% of those who are not. Cause or effect the outcome is still good!

Awkward conversation to have with the residents? No! 88% of participants felt comfortable having a conversation with their health provider about S E X.

So, make opportunities for your consumers to meet people, build their social circle, and knock their boots. Be bold and demonstrate ways in which your organisation meets standard four outcomes. And best of all as always, improve outcomes for consumers, staff and ultimately your business!

 Get in touch today and implement the UCLA Loneliness scale as a part of your assessments and let’s get some funky innovations happening today!