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“Loneliness breaks the spirit” – Proverb
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” – Mother Theresa
The psychological impact of loneliness and social isolation has long since been understood. Possibly most famously, Maslow identified that humans are designed with a need for other people. The popular model of the Hierarchy of Need, developed by Maslow identified this need for love and belonging, as underpinning to esteem and self-actualization – the ability to live at an individual’s potential in any area of their life.
Over more recent years, physical as well as psychological impact of socialisation has been assessed, particularly the impact of social isolation noting a drastic effect on individuals. One recent report by IOTUK identified that social isolation it is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, has poorer outcomes than obesity and physical inactivity and increases the risk of death up to 26% in older adults (https://iotuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Social-Isolation-and-Loneliness-Landscape-UK.pdf).
Many of the comorbidities that arise from social isolation, as well as the contributing circumstances which may lead to it are reasons allied health professionals may encounter these individuals. Chances are, we have already seen someone who is struggling with social isolation and it’s an almost certainty that we will meet someone who is during our clinical careers. In just the population aged 60+, it is estimated approximately 11% of people only interact with others once a month.
Previously considered as only a risk to older adults, it is now increasing in incidence across all generations and presenting huge ramifications to the state of national healthcare. As allied health professionals, we are often in contact with these people experiencing social isolation – but would you know how to spot it? Or what to do about it?
Join us to discuss social isolation and our role as allied health professionals at 8pm.
What’s the difference between social isolation and loneliness?
What impact does social isolation have on health and wellbeing?
What factors contribute to the feeling of loneliness?
How can we identify where loneliness/social isolation is contributing to a person’s health that we may be treating? What impact might it have on our interventions?
What can we do about loneliness/social isolation for our patients? For our services? For society?