Date: February 2021

Loneliness is not just during the COVID-19 pandemic

It is no secret that due to shielding, national lockdowns and social distancing, loneliness has been highlighted as a real issue that can impact our mental and physical health significantly. In a recent survey by the Office for National Statistics, 2.6 million adults reported that they felt lonely “often” or “always” between April and May 2020. This is a huge number, and whilst we may think that the national restrictions may be to blame, this is actually about the same proportion as pre-lockdown figures, showing that chronic loneliness was sadly a significant issue long before Coronavirus had an impact on our lives.

In the England, over 2 million people over the age of 75 live alone and over a million older people say they can go over a month without speaking to a loved one, friend or neighbour. Whilst COVID has certainly exacerbated the issue, the sad reality is that people are facing social isolation and loneliness every single day.

Why so lonely?

There are a number of reasons why someone might find themselves feeling lonely or isolated, such as leaving the work place, family moving away or loved ones passing on. This can often leave individuals living alone with no social connections or human contact. It can feel difficult for someone to reach out and seek help for chronic loneliness, for fear of bothering others or losing a sense of pride. Some individuals may not know where to turn to get support and so suffer in silence without anyone realising that they may be spending days or weeks at a time without having a meaningful conversation. 

How you can help?

It is important to remember that once Coronavirus finally starts to decline and national restrictions begin to ease that sadly people, particularly the elderly population, will still experience chronic loneliness. But there are ways in which we can make a difference, however small, to someone in need.

Make contact

Have a relative or know someone in your community who is living alone? Make sure to check in on them as often as you can. Social interaction can have a wonderful impact on our mental and physical health, so it is important to remember those who might not get the opportunity to speak to friends or family often or at all. Give them a call to chat, pop round to say hello or video chat (if you are both technologically inclined!). Taking just ten minutes out of your day to have a conversation with someone who might be feeling isolated or alone will make the world of difference to their day.

Refer friends or family to Westbank’s services

Here at Westbank, we are committed to helping individuals who feel lonely or isolated, and we offer this in a variety of ways. From Men’s Brunch Club, Exercise Classes, Hot Meal Services and Hobbies Groups to a simple phone call from a friendly voice; our volunteers work hard to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome. If you know of anyone, or you yourself feel you would benefit from some of our services, we are here to help in any way we can, including organising transportation.

Volunteer your time

One of the most valuable things you can give people is your time. You may not know if anyone in your community is feeling lonely but volunteering can help connect you with those people. Here at Westbank, we have a number of vulnerable individuals who may need help with walking a dog, delivery of prescriptions and shopping supplies, or simply a quick chat to cheer up their day. We are always looking for volunteers and appreciate any help you can offer to support our community through their difficult days.

Volunteer today

Donate to Westbank

We all have busy lives sometimes, and so if donating your time is too much at the moment consider making a donation to Westbank so we can continue to support our community. Your donation can help us to keep our diverse services, clubs, classes and events running to ensure the members of our community never feel alone or isolated.

Westbank hope to help individuals out of their homes and bring them together so no one feels lonely at any time of the year, national pandemic or not.

Make a donation today