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  • Writer's pictureSarah Sheers

Social Isolation

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

During Covid19 many of us self-isolated, were shielded and, due to living alone, have not had any social interaction for many weeks. Imagine that this is your life every day regardless of what is happening in the wider community.

Loneliness and social isolation are often confused but they are very different. Loneliness can be being alone; loneliness can be a state of mind where you can be in a crowd and still feel lonely however, social isolation is something quite different. Social isolation is the complete lack of social interaction, no interaction with family and friends and this is what many of our vulnerable adults face day in, day out.

Social isolation can have devastating effects on the mental health and physical health of an individual. Mental health, physical health and pre-existing conditions often worsen when an individual is socially isolated. Imagine looking at the same four walls, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year!! Studies have shown that social isolation causes increased blood pressure and disrupted sleep among other things. Social isolation has also been likened to PTSD as the symptoms and effects are quite the same. Imagine being in your 90’s and suffering from the effects of PTSD with no one to support you?

We can help to combat social isolation by working with each other, being kind to each other, checking in on our neighbours and supporting people in their homes. Care in an individuals’ home becomes much more than simply providing a wash and a meal, a Care Workers' interaction with that individual is vital in their overall health and wellbeing. We, as Care Workers, could be only face that individual sees daily therefore we need to build that relationship where we listen and understand. Care is much more than physical task, it is also supporting an individual to have a more positive outlook on their life and circumstances, promoting what they can achieve rather than what they can’t achieve, giving time to talk, having a cup of tea and just being there. We can encourage, support and be the ears that can listen to them, their worries and fears, their memories and hopes. Care can be positive, it can help people to access the wider community and be involved how they would like to be regardless of age, gender, illness, and disability.

Positivity and support can help prevent social isolation.

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