Mental Health Awareness Week at Abbeyfield Wessex Society

Examining loneliness in retirement

Today, Sunday 15 May, sees the end of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK.  It is estimated there are 12 million people over the age of 65 in the country with a projected further 8.6 million in the next fifty years.  Many will continue to live life well without issues.  However, it is projected up to 10% of people over the age of 65 years will struggle with their mental health.  One of the main issues is loneliness.  It must be noted that loneliness should not be confused with social isolation.  People can be surrounded by others - whether they are family or friends - and still feel lonely.  Loneliness can be measured with the perceived gap between the quality of relationships and the quantity of relationship.  Studies have shown that loneliness, amongst older people, are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease than those with a lesser degree of loneliness.  

Covid-19 and the lockdowns between 2020 and 2021 also created further distress for those who are 65 years and over.  For so many, talking over the telephone or using other formats, such as Zoom did not alleviate the feelings of isolation, exacerbating overall loneliness factors and other mental health conditions.

Now, we are moving forwards and the lockdowns become a more of a memory, retirement living and how people live is coming more into focus.  For many, working from home is becoming less of an option, which means that many elderly friends and family are not having the same focus as in the last two years.  The cost of living crisis means that choosing between heating and food is becoming a terrible issue of late.

So what can Abbeyfield Wessex Society do to help moving forward?  During the pandemic, it was our priority to ensure that our residents felt connected.  Our House Managers were able to ensure our residents had their health needs attended.  We ensured that residents were able to stay connected with friends and family - even if it was not possible to physically see them.  It wasn't easy - but we were glad to have kept our residents safe and comfortable ensuring their overall wellbeing - including their mental health - were catered.

Now, it is 2022 and we are able to live more freely.  Our Houses are opening up again and we are introducing Lunch Clubs, Activity Mornings and Afternoons and soon to be Gardening Clubs.  These are open to our residents, their friends and family and to members of our community who are retired.  At Abbeyfield Wessex, we are proud to continue the ethos of providing home from home living where our residents can enjoy life.  They can choose to participate in Abbeyfield living and know they are supported and continuing to live their best life.  

For more information on our beautiful Houses based in Dorset and Romsey, go to our website https://wessex.abbeyfield.com/ You will be most welcome!

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