Tackling loneliness

We’ve all felt lonely at some time. For most of us, loneliness is a temporary feeling we can overcome, but for others it can leave us lacking in confidence and feeling miserable.

by Andrea Libman, the Oddfellows Care and Welfare Department

Major life events such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement, redundancy, retirement, declining health or being a carer can often lead to a sudden change in circumstances which may prove difficult to adjust to. Over time this can cause social isolation and leave us vulnerable to loneliness.

Research consistently shows that around 10% of older people are lonely. What’s more as we are living longer the number of people experiencing severe loneliness is increasing. Older men living alone are more likely to be socially isolated than women in similar circumstances. Whatever the cause, loneliness can lead to depression and a decline in physical health and wellbeing.
Steps to reducing loneliness
If you have been feeling lonely for a while the first step is to notice and identify this, even just to yourself. This could be thinking about what you can do to help the situation and also how to ask for help from others.
 
Sometimes it is someone else such as a family member, friends or neighbour who notice that someone seems isolated and may feel lonely.

A helping hand from the Oddfellows

Our 136 Branches nationwide are often well placed to know if a member’s circumstances have changed and to offer support. Depending on a Branch’s size and resources, Care and Welfare support is delivered locally by Secretaries, Care Coordinators and our 300 trained member volunteer Welfare Visitors.

Accessing Branch Care and Welfare support is a membership benefit from day one. Whatever difficulty you find yourself facing – no matter how small – make sure you get in touch.

Members are also supported with a full diary of friendly social events, perfect for meeting new people. From chat-filled coffee mornings, craft sessions and lunch clubs to guest talks, countryside walks and trips out - whether attending on your own or in a group, a warm welcome is always guaranteed.

To find your local Oddfellows group, call us on 0800 028 1810 or search online at www.oddfellows.co.uk.

Top tips for staying connected:

  • Eat well, take gentle exercise and keep active to help improve relaxation and better sleep patterns.
  • Contact the GP as long term loneliness can affect mental and physical health.
  • Make claims for all welfare benefits that are due so there is some money spare for social activities. Members can contact our Citizens Advice Line for a benefits check.
  • Plan ahead and arrange activities spread over the week so that there is something to look forward to. Check listings in a local newspaper, library or community centre.
  • Ask about senior discount schemes at cinemas, theatres, museums and other local attractions.
  • For people who do not drive or if public transport is not accessible, find out about local community transport by calling Community Transport Online on 0161 351 1475 or visit www.ctonline.org.uk.
  • Volunteering is a great way of meeting new people and making a difference in the local community. Oddfellows have volunteering opportunities as do the organisations listed below. Alternatively, find a local Volunteer Centre by visiting www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/find-a-volunteer-centre.

Product and services recommendations within this article do not constitute an endorsement by the Oddfellows and their use is entirely at your own risk. The Oddfellows does not accept any liability or responsibility for material on any third-party websites