Tackling loneliness as we retire and get older

Blog > Tackling loneliness as we retire and get older

21 December 2017

Today’s blog is brought to you by The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship and is the second in a 2-part blog takeover by fellow Civil Service Organisations.

The CSRF is a charity dedicated to helping retired civil servants, widows/widowers, partners and dependants enjoy a more fulfilling retirement. They run a range of services including befriending schemes and community groups. We also help civil servants by providing suitable health insurance policies for thier needs.

Tackling loneliness as we retire and get older

The negative effects of loneliness to our physical health have been widely publicised recently, with one study showing an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke whilst another from 2015 suggested that loneliness could be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes every day.

Effect on mental health

Loneliness has been shown to also have a dramatic impact on our mental health.  It has been heavily linked to an increased risk of early onset dementia and clinical depression. Sentence: There are a number of psychological and emotional benefits of exercise and which might help combat feelings of depression and anxiety due to loneliness.

Increased risk as we age

These mental health issues can be especially prevalent in older people, as the risk factors for feeling lonely increase dramatically once we retire. The risk increase is due to a number of things, such as poor health, loss of loved ones and/or decreased mobility.  These can lead to some of the above mentioned conditions, whilst another perhaps more shocking find has shown that loneliness and low social interaction are even predictive of suicide in older age.

What The CSRF are doing to help

Research has confirmed that as loneliness and social isolation is a broad spectrum affecting many different individuals; tackling it requires varied activities. The Civil Service Retirement Fellowship, in association with some great partners is doing exactly that - running numerous outreach schemes.

The National Visitors Network and Phone Buddy schemes are extremely important to our beneficiaries. The home visits (National Visitors Network) provide really isolated older people – some who could go weeks without seeing or speaking to anyone – with much needed human contact and a connection to society. Sharing a cup of tea and catching up on sport, world affairs or other fancies keeps some of these people going, and provides inspiration in some cases to get out and do more.

The phone buddy scheme is equally as important, providing regular catch up calls to lonely older people. There is strong evidence to suggest that having friendships is a more important factor in warding off loneliness than frequent or physical contact with these friends – so the phone buddy scheme is an easy way for volunteers to provide these friendships and help tackle this issue, with beneficiaries and volunteers alike frequently commenting on how real and important the friendships they form are to them.

Another important activity run by the CSRF is the Local Community Groups.  There are over 100 active local community groups across the UK, serving local retirees. The groups meet regularly and provide advice, educational speakers and leisure activities.

If you’re interested in supporting us or becoming a volunteer, or if you know someone that would benefit from CSRF’s services, please do get in touch.




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