More and more awareness is being raised around the issues the elderly face these days. With the International Day of Older Persons occurring as recently as October 1st, we feel it’s important to relay the message once more and with a partial solution.
Age UK has announced, that sadly, 1.9 million older people often feel ignored or invisible. Loneliness can be as harmful to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Devastatingly, 51% of all people aged over 75 live alone and about 3.9 million say that television is their main company. It’s heartbreaking to hear those statistics, and while Millennials and Generation-Z are out complaining about how much ‘they hate people’, the elderly are desperate for some company.
Research has shown that friendships between the older and younger generations can benefit both parties, by giving both a sense of purpose, learning opportunities and improve general well-being. With the knowledge that you will be giving an elderly person some company, and benefitting your mental wellbeing, why wouldn’t you want to spend time with the elderly?
It might not seem much, and you might think of your grandparents, or parents, who are retired as lucky for having the time to do whatever they want, but the reality is they’ve more than likely done it. Unfortunately, there aren’t many things to do in retirement that take up as much time as raising a family and building an improvement career. Often the elderly need multiple hobbies to steer them from loneliness. The transition from a full home to an empty one or a hectic schedule to barely a thing on the calendar can be difficult, especially when reminiscing on the ‘good old days’ is all too easy to do. It’s similar to being off work sick for a week, after the first couple of days you’re over it and are desperate to have a task or to get ‘back to normal’.
There are many different ways in which you can spend time with the elderly and prevent them from feeling lonely - a great way to do this is heading to bingo. By taking an elderly person to bingo, such as your Nan or neighbor, you can help combat loneliness and help them reminisce on fonder days. The majority of the elderly nation would have played bingo in their youth as it was the ‘thing-to-do’ on a Saturday night back then.
You might be thinking "I can’t afford Bingo for real money" which is understandable, but you do have the time to play bingo. The multiple variations of the game mean that you can play it with a group of friends online, or create a game yourself with rolled up bits of paper, an empty bowl, and some hand-crafted scorecards. There are plenty of ways to get involved in bingo and the more the merrier. Many elderly care homes play bingo, so why not head over and join them for a game and stop to have a chat and a cup of tea afterward.
You’ll be surprised at how much this kind gesture will mean to someone and for those who are incredibly lonely, it will more than likely result in being their highlight of the week. One simple act can make a world of difference.