Avoiding isolation in the elderly years

August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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lonely ladyI read about the health of elderly people frequently and always come across the same problem, isolation. That terrible feeling of loneliness, abandonment and seclusion which rarely seems to fade.

The problem is becoming increasingly highlighted with the quality of social care been constantly questioned. The simple fact is that isolation needs addressing as the effects of little social interaction with vulnerable and elderly people are shocking.

This was made clear when Friends of the Elderly recently carried out a week long experiment ‘Isolation Week’. Working with a group of socially active ‘young’ people (ranging from 20’s to 50’s) each participant was to live alone without any contact from friends or family. Instead television became their companion, with the occasional allowance of using the internet, however not for social networking purposes- Changing their lifestyle for that of an elderly isolated person.

I was astonished with how quickly living in isolation started to change the mind set of those involved. Depression became the most prominent problem as many quickly became miserable and unable to perk themselves up, which sounds far too familiar.

Rather than glumly look at the negatives, which of course needed addressing. I’ve started to keep a keen eye on ways that elderly people can avoid living in isolation.

old ladies

A previous blog included the fantastic services of Southwark Circle, a social care organisation operating in London. The scheme is brilliant and work on socially improving the lives of elderly people in the community. I think that this style of social care is extremely refreshing and one which could see success elsewhere.

I recently read about a singing group in south Wales cheekily titled the ‘Golden Oldies’, who offer their services to elderly people who get joy from singing great pop music. The group holds weekly sessions which get people together for a good sing song and has a simple aim of giving elderly people something to look forward too.

The weekly session system seems a good route for the elderly to go down. Whether that is a singing group, a knitting group or light exercise class for the elderly (there are plenty out there- search online with your local council). As these sessions are great places go and make friends as well as providing a little routine to day to day life.

golden olides

Of course, recent news that many local authorities will soon be cutting funds to bus routes, which are used predominantly by the elderly, will have a big impact. Such news is devastating and frustrating. However, getting online could be the answer. If you can’t get to your friends why not Skype them or become friends on Facebook. Send each other Tweets about what you’re currently reading or when you’re next going to play bowls. Online options are endless and with so much help available it really is a realistic away to avoid feeling isolated.

Of course nothing compares to living in a family home with loved ones but these options can help make life much happier and ease loneliness whilst getting older.

Websites of the Week- 20th-24th June 2011

June 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

I thought that this week was the perfect chance to include Savvy Woman in my websites of the week because there has been so much media attention surrounding pensions and women’s retirement age.

Set up and ran by journalist and financial expert Sarah Pennells, the site offers basic to the point advice on money and finances. Specifically geared towards ladies and their finances there is help available from all areas of finance including mortgages, loans, pension, retirement and so forth.

Savvy Women is a really useful site to have bookmarked- Look out for daily news articles and budgeting tools, which are my favourite areas of the site.


 isolation week friends of the elderly

 I had to include Isolationweek.com into my favourite picks this week because I’ve being flicking on and off the site all week checking out new blog posts and video diaries.

The site is part of Friends of the Elderly new social experiment, which sees 10 volunteers living in isolation for a week to simulate the life of a vulnerable elderly person living alone.

The process has been incredibly interesting to follow, as the reality of life in a lonely environment has really begun to show. I love that Friends of the Elderly have used this site as a platform to communicate the experiment. It has worked wonderfully and really enticed me to come back and view more. Brilliant- I’m looking forward to reading about how the volunteers get on over the weekend.



Launched mid-week the Pottermore site is only open to register for now. However, the beautifully designed site includes a messaged from J.K Rowling as she explains what Pottermore is all about and how you can become involved.

Set to open properly in October, Pottermore will be a digital experience of the Harry Potter series, and includes you the reader. Rowling enclosed that the site will includes details about the stories and characters which have never been revealed. Finally to tie in with the digital theme, E-books of the Harry Potter series will also be available to purchase via Pottermore.com

It’s set to be a great site. I would really encourage fans to register now as a lucky few will be able to view the site in its entirety at the end of July.

Isolation Week- Friends for the Elderly

June 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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isolation week fote

We all know that old people often feel alone, isolated and detached from the world outside their homes due to excessive time spent by themselves.

Charity organisation Friends of the Elderly are this week running a social experiment which simulates the lives of isolated elderly people. Using younger, mobile members of the public who have active social lives, work commitment and generally busy on the go lifestyles. FOTE are aiming to change the way we think about the implications of isolated living.

The experiment ‘Isolation Week’ commenced on 20th June and will conclude on 26th. The 10 participants will not be allowed to leave their homes or interact with anybody. However, they will be able to use the internet (excluding social networking sites such as Facebook- although Twitter is allowed but only for documenting the process – no two way conversations are permitted) and watch television as for many elderly people such is their only form of company.

To add extra premise the participants are also being instructed to wear or use different prompts, including visually impairing glasses to give the feel of poor eye sights and gloves to suggest arthritis or poor joints all things which the elderly deal with daily.

isolation week

Participant Pam Stopforth

The experiment is currently being documented on FOTE website and via Twitter (#isolationweek). I have to say that it is extremely interesting to follow as participants are publishing daily blog posts along with video dairies to note their thoughts, feeling and changing attitudes to a life in isolation.

So far the boredom and frustration seems to be the main points of concern. As many participants seem to be feeling like they don’t have a purpose for the day ahead. I unfortunately assume that this is how many elderly people feel frequently.

I’ll be keeping track of the experiment as it’s fascinating viewing, and I am really interested to see how the isolation, which over a million elderly people here in the UK are living with day in, day out takes effect.

To read more about Friends of the Elderly and Isolation Week see the official website– including video diaries and blog posts.

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