Barely a day goes by when we don’t see a story about old age. In the last eight weeks alone, there have been several different reports from high profile charities, NGOs, think tanks and insurance companies including, ONS, Age UK and Aviva among others.
This week a story was released by Independent Age in partnership with The International Longevity Centre, UK. The report looked at the loneliness suffered by men over 50 and highlighted that by 2030, 1.5million men over 50 will experience loneliness. http://www.independentage.org/media/828364/isolation-the-emerging-crisis-for-older-men-report.pdf
Loneliness, it seems, is the most common problem in old age, closely followed by dementia and the story? of poor care. There seems to be no silver bullet to cure this social ill. The report suggested that men often experience loneliness more than women, because of their unwillingness to go out to casual clubs or social events. It further suggests that clubs for older people should be more appealing to men by offering activities they might prefer, such as a hobby based activity.
According to the report, loneliness can start to affect the health of a person, and many men who are experiencing loneliness are also affected by existing medical conditions. Isolated and lonely men were much more likely to be in poor health. Over a quarter (28%) of the loneliest men said their health was poor, in contrast to just 1 in 20 (5%) men who were not lonely.
With this in mind, loneliness may well be contributing to pressure on NHS resources.as men are also much less likely to seek help from medical services until a condition becomes an emergency.
The call from Independent Age was on providers of social activities for men to be more ‘men’ friendly.
Many of us may have a male elderly relative, how often do you think to call them or pop over for a visit? I know now in my own experience, my father is alone following the death of my mother. It has been just a few weeks and whilst he is active and able to get out and about, he feels the long nights more than anything. Let’s make a note to call on older relatives, whether male or female or even offer any older neighbours an opportunity to come in for a coffee and a chat. Just a small gesture can make all the difference and turn a potential negative story in to a positive one.