Loneliness is a significant contributing factor in the decline of an older adult’s mental wellbeing and physical health and social isolation increases the chances of early death in older adults by 30%.1
The development of malnutrition involves many risk factors, and loneliness and social isolation are both important risk factors in the older population.1,2,3
Studies show people over the age of 65 living alone often have a significantly lower Body Mass Index (BMI) when compared to older people living with their families.2
These studies also reveal that isolated older adults often experience a loss of appetite, eat fewer meals during a typical day and with this have a lower intake of protein, fruits and vegetables.2,3
More than 75% of GPs in the UK have said that they regularly see up to 5 people aged over 65 who are lonely – every day.2
Not only is loneliness a major factor in the development of malnutrition but it is also a major factor in cognitive and mental decline as well as long-term physical health problems. Loneliness and social isolation can no longer considered a trivial matter by social and health care services; making elderly care a top priority.
Organisations, like Age UK are working with health and social care providers to tackle loneliness and social isolation. For example, Cheshire Fire and Rescue are working with Age UK Cheshire to provide a service called Springboard, which helps older people in need of support by conducting home visits and pointing them to local social and befriending services.
Meals on wheels and other meal delivery services also play a vital role in not only alleviating loneliness but also in improving dietary intake and helping prevent malnutrition in older people living alone.4
For AYMES, our priority is to help tackle malnutrition that often goes hand in hand with loneliness in older patients. We address malnutrition in the community by providing cost-effective nutritional supplements available on the market – this enables GPs, dietitians and other healthcare professionals to treat malnutrition quickly and easily.
By providing essential nutrients like protein, and the complete range of vitamins and minerals, AYMES nutritional supplements can effectively treat underlying malnutrition, and this helps to reverse and prevent the decline of physical and mental health in the older population.
We are also helping tackle loneliness itself by donating to the charity, The Silver Line, the helpline for older people. We give 5% of our profits to The Silver Line, which is reliant on donations to run their free helpline and continue to provide essential support services for people over the age of 65.
To ensure our customers know of the help available to them, we include The Silver Line leaflet in all our sample packs.
The Silver Line Helpline For Older People 0800 4 70 80 90
The Silver Line is a free, confidential helpline, which provides information, friendship and support for older adults. The Silver Line is free of charge to callers and is available 24 hours a day every day of the year.
The Silver Line Helpline number is 0800 4 70 80 90, and they offer a friendship service, connect older people with local support services and provide protection and support for older adults who are suffering neglect or abuse.
1. Loneliness 'a major public health concern' Age UK. http://www.ageuk.org.uk/latest-news/archive/loneliness-a-major-public-health-concern/
2. The effect of loneliness on malnutrition in elderly population. Ramic E et al. 2011 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21585182
3. Social isolation and risk for malnutrition among older people. Boulos C et al. 2016 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26790629
4. The Impact of a Home-Delivered Meal Program on Nutritional Risk, Dietary Intake, Food Security, Loneliness, and Social Well-Being.
Wright L et al. 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26106989