A growing epidemic, loneliness affects almost one in 10 people in Ireland. It has also been identified as a key health hazard, writes Helen O’Callaghan in the Irish Examiner. And it does not discriminate across age groups, according to studies in other countries. Read the article.
This Time article "How Feeling Lonely Can Shorten Your Life" reports on several studies including one six-year study of people (average age of 71) which found that "lonely people showed significantly more disability: they were 59% more likely to have lost the ability to perform tasks of daily living. For example, they were 18% more likely to suffer mobility problems and 31% more likely to have trouble climbing stairs than those who didn’t report feeling lonely. Even more concerning, the lonely participants were 45% more likely to have died by the end of the study than those who weren’t lonely."
Read about the impact of isolation and the difference between being alone and feeling lonely in abstracts from Preventing loneliness and social isolation: interventions and outcomes by Karen Windle, Jennifer Francis and Caroline Coomber - SCIE paper
In September 2013, Statistics Canada came out with two documents on caregiver stress: Portrait of Caregivers and Family Caregiving Consequences. It is interesting that the average amount of time that people spend caring for aged and ill family members is similar to the amount of help provided by HomeShare housemates.
Researchers in the UK surveyed 500 seniors about falls and the consequences. Seniors who lived alone reported significantly more falls than those who had someone else living in the house.
In 2007, the City of Calgary surveyed 500 senior households and found that 8% had moved in the past two years - and another 9% expected to move in the next 12 months. The reasons they gave for expecting to move?
Sharing your home with a housemate can help with the first two of these. The third may become less needed if you have the help you need to stay in your present home.
As a society we tend to view aging as a ‘problem’ which must be ‘managed’ – we frequently debate how to cope with the pressure on national health services of growing numbers of older people, the cost of sustaining them with pensions and social care, and the effect on families and housing needs.
The core message in this report is that ageing in itself is not a policy problem to be solved, but is in fact a unique experience for each individual, which varies according to personal characteristics, experience and outlook. Read More.
The Staying Put program offers a variety of community supports for people who choose to stay in their homes.