The 21st of September is World Alzheimer’s Day, and the 2020 theme is, ‘Let’s talk about Dementia.’ Research has shown that people who live with a dementia are at a far higher risk of being lonely. A 2018 Alzheimer’s Society study found that over a third of people living with a dementia had been feeling lonely.
At Hatherleigh Nursing Home, we’re joining the conversation, sharing our thoughts on elderly people living with a dementia and the link to loneliness.
Loneliness is an empty space we feel no matter how many people we are surrounded by. You can be in a room with a hundred people but ‘not fitting in’ or having that sense of belonging can make a bustling busy room feel bleak and desolate. We all thrive in different environments, but the over simplistic view of loneliness is that you must be alone to suffer from it – this is not the case.
Age and loneliness often go hand in hand; the symptoms of natural ageing such as retirement, loss of mobility, bereavements of family and friends and illnesses can leave people of an older generation living in social isolation. Whilst some people are very happy living in isolation, others who have been reliant on social interaction and human connection can find this extremely difficult.
Loneliness can be symptomatic for someone living with a dementia. This can be for any number of reasons, but as a person travels on their journey with dementia, communication and conversing can be become more difficult and memory recall will also fade, changing the very nature of relationships they continue to hold dear.
To avoid or help support a person living with feelings of loneliness, the remedy can be as simple as a listening ear or a hand-held. Valuing a person’s company, their worth and appreciating their inputs can go a long way in improving their happiness and social fulfilment. Interaction and engagement allow a person to feel real human connections. Giving someone who feels lonely, validated and authentic companionship will suppress these feelings of loneliness and offer gratification and confidence in its place.
Being welcomed into the Hatherleigh Nursing Home family, you became a part of the living, breathing, loving home that is made up by the team and those who live there. By talking to new family members, when they move in and those who know them best, we ensure we know as much about them as possible. This is so we are able to recognise them as an individual and value them for who they are. We are able to grow this relationship, and the more time we spend talking, learning and listening to the members of the family, the more we are able to shape an environment that enables them to feeling belonging and value at the home. The culture in the home is shaped by those who live there, and this enables both the physical and emotional wellbeing of all at Hatherleigh.
Knowing a person and understanding their likes, dislikes, occupations, and life history support the team in providing an environment that can sustain their independence, improve self-worth and confidence. This in turn gives them control of their lives and leads to a more open, trusting relationship between them and the Hatherleigh team. This trust is the basis for all the relationships at Hatherleigh and ensures that everyone who calls Hatherleigh their home feels valued, safe and included.
Hatherleigh Nursing Home is a home to many people who are on their journeys with dementia, and because our exceptional team live by our core values; excellence, people driven, integrity and compassion, we enable feelings of being connected and included for everyone.
This #WorldAlzheimersDay we encourage you to reach out to someone and give them the human connection they may be missing in their life.
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