What is Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria?
Loneliness is a growing problem amongst older people, and in care homes it can be a particularly difficult issue to resolve. Figures from Age UK show that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month, and 60 percent of people in care homes get no visitors.
With changing family and community structures and an ageing population, increasing numbers of people, especially older adults, are becoming socially isolated or lonely. Chronic social isolation can reduce life expectancy by an equivalent amount to smoking, with chronic loneliness increasingly recognised as having far reaching consequences for the health and wellbeing of both individuals and wider communities, studies have even shown that those who report a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
When an older person moves from familiar surroundings into a care home, it can be an emotional upheaval and for many will be the final great change in their life and circumstances.
As the festive season approaches, people are being encouraged to send a card to residents in care homes across Lancashire.
Tackling loneliness and isolation among older people is a key health issue, and also includes people who live in care homes. Feelings of loneliness can worsen especially around the holiday season; by including your local care home in your list of cards to send, you could make a real difference to their lives.
Lancashire County Council promoted a similar initiative over the summer – Postcards for Kindness. A local care home has talked about how lovely it was to receive a postcard from Kim, aged seven. The postcard initiated a lot of conversation and memories; residents were just disappointed they couldn’t write back to Kim!
It's always lovely to receive a card through the post and this in turn promotes lots of conversations about past Christmases and celebrations; bringing back happy memories and encouraging residents to talk to others. Research shows this has many health benefits, especially for people living with dementia.
Evidence suggests there are five steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing. One of the steps encourages individuals to connect with the people around them: family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Sending a festive card is a great way to make this happen; contributing to the wellbeing of both the sender and the recipient.
Learn more about the five steps to wellbeing.
Care homes across Lancashire have signed up to the Cards for Kindness scheme and local people are encouraged to get involved. All you need to do is write a card and choose a care home to write to.
A list of care homes where cards can be sent to can be found here
To find out further information please contact Lancashire County Council email@example.com