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Loneliness is as damaging to health as smoking and obesity and can contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and anxiety.


LONELINESS AND SOCIAL ISOLATION

Loneliness is as damaging to health as smoking and obesity and can contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and anxiety. Add to that drinking too much, overeating and gambling  (gambling particularly in older women in on the increase).  Ministry of Health figures show 15% to 20% of older people are affected by depression. Older people are particularly vulnerable to social isolation and loneliness owing to the loss of friends, family mobility or income. 

But cheer up!! We can help ourselves by making an effort to meet new people. There are walking groups, exercise groups and social functions for people who want to enjoy life with other seniors. Age Concern Wanganui has a list of social opportunities available in Wanganui.

When you see and opportunity to introduce yourself, do so! Ask others about themselves and let others know something about you. Growing friendships require ongoing contact.  Meanwhile don’t forget old friends and neighbours, how about inviting a friend you have lost touch with for lunch.

 Volunteering your time and talents can help put your own situation into perspective.  Age Concern Wanganui is always looking for volunteers for various positions.  Hobbies can keep you motivated and there are many hobbies that are possible even if your mobility is challenged.  For example:  Pen-Pals, model trains, arts and crafts, needle point ,reading, writing and puzzles are a few.

If you are homebound meeting people can be difficult, call Age Concern Wanganui to enquire about home visitations.

Loneliness can indicate depression.  Feelings of sadness and despair, loss of appetite, apathy, reluctance to make decisions, suicidal thoughts and trouble sleeping are all signs of depression and should be discussed with your G.P.

Kay is Age Concern Wanganui’s Accredited Visiting Service Coordinator.
Give her a call – 06 345 1799.

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