Social Isolation

2nd November 2016

Social Isolation

‘A Million Years Ago’

Adele’s lyrics in ‘A Million Years Ago’ have given me much food for thought about social isolation and how it affects many in society. Adele sings about her past life as ‘a party to be thrown’, obviously with her friends and family. Later in the song she sings of missing her friends and how people can no longer relate to her.

“When I walk around all of the streets,

Where I grew up and found my feet,

They can’t look at me in the eye,

It’s like they’re scared of me,

I try to think of things to say,

Like a joke or memory,

But they don’t recognise me now in the light of day.”

We are conditioned to believe that money and success are the recipe for happiness and being fulfilled. Social isolation is endemic in society and happens across the board, it does not discriminate. Therefore, it can happen to anyone and for a variety of reasons. Examples of causes include:

1. Changes in health

2. Changes in social or economic circumstances

3. Being forced to move areas

4. Losing your home

5. Leaving institutions (for example, the Armed Forces or after being released from prison)

Social Isolation & Companionship

As a Care Manager I witness people’s vulnerability and isolation on a daily basis. I have come to realise that companionship and social inclusion are key to a healthy mind and are an intrinsic part of physical and mental wellbeing.

Research shows that Social Isolation can lead to ill health including high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. In today’s society we are so busy with our own lives that we can unintentionally bypass the isolated in our communities. I look at some isolated clients and, knowing their history, wonder what happened to all their friends and family who were so willing to spend time with them when life was a ‘party to be thrown’. I met with someone recently whose friends had sadly dropped by the wayside, when I asked him why this had happened he said, ‘they just don’t know what to say to me anymore.’ Sometimes people can’t see past the present; they fail to see a person suffering from illness or disability as the same person they were before their lives changed.

The Importance of Engaging in Activities

Recently, I was lucky enough to observe an amazing Movement to Music class at “Elder’s Voice” in London. This charity provides a range of practical and social opportunities for people who are aged over 50. The activity was led by an amazing dance therapist and the group had a wonderful time. After the class the group prepared and ate a meal together which they thoroughly enjoyed.

There are many such services available throughout the UK that are reaching out to members of our community who suffer from social isolation. This includes services for those that are housebound.

Please see below contact details of some services that are available, many more are available online.

Elder’s Voice – eldersvoice.org

Age UK – ageuk.org

Mind – mind.org.uk

Reachout – reachout.co.uk

Vida is a service which harnesses technology and invests in high quality carers to deliver fully managed and personalised live in care in London and Sussex, at a flat rate of £16/hour.

Post by Vida's Merina Martin - Senior Care Manager


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