Preventing loneliness in old age in Scotland

You may find yourself living alone in old age, which can cause loneliness and social isolation.

You may become lonely and socially isolated for many reasons, often through retirement, losing friends and loved ones, or by suffering from a disability or illness.

Depression and a general decline in physical and mental health can be the result of isolation, and some older people can feel too proud to ask for help. If you are elderly and feel lonely, or know someone who is, there is help available to improve quality of life. See the NHS Inform website for more information about depression, including its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

What can I do to prevent loneliness?

It is important to stay active where possible, which includes leaving the house for at least a few minutes a day if you are able. Many people will be happy to engage in polite conversation if you are positive and friendly.

If you find it difficult to leave your home, consider inviting friends or relatives for tea. More often than not, your family or neighbours will appreciate the invitation to spend time with you.

Alternatively, speak to friends on the phone as a way to keep in touch despite distance. Computers are a good alternative to physical interaction too, as you can send emails, messages, and even use video chat services.

Where can I go for advice?

Loneliness can be damaging to mental and physical wellbeing, and can affect a person's quality of life. If you are feeling lonely or are worried about someone who is, NHS Inform provides practical advice and suggests support services that can help.

Legion Scotland work to prevent loneliness through a wellbeing and befriending service that provides friendship for veterans in their community. Visit the Legion Scotland website to find out more.

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