Reach out and reduce loneliness
Research shows that loneliness is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or obesity.
Age UK estimates that a million people go a month without talking to another person.Older people in care homes can be lonely, if they are not having meaningful social interactions.
People living with family be lonely, if they want a different kind of social interaction. And parents of young children, and people living in bustling cities can still be lonely.
Reach out for support yourself
Connect with the world around you
Make the most of the social contact you do have, however small, and keep in touch as much as possible by phone and computer. Cambridgeshire libraries have 'computer buddies' who can help you to develop computer skills, and show you how to connect with friends and family through email, or social media. If you’re spending time alone, activities such as keeping a journal or meditation can prove calming.
Get involved - activities and volunteering
Getting out and about with local community activities can help you to fill your diary, meet people, and make friends, and learn or do something new.
- Taking up an adult learning course or joining group exercise classes can help you to meet people.
- Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough runs a visiting and befriending scheme to support people who find themselves isolated in later life. They also have several day centres and clubs around the county where you can enjoy companionship, activities and entertainment. Information officers can provide details of local services and support. Age UK Cambridgeshire & Peterborough can also offer a variety of practical services such as day clubs, community wardens, a handyperson, housework and gardening - call 0300 666 9860 between the hours 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday for more information.
- If you need help finding out what is going on in your community, or to access services, a Care Network Community Navigator may also be able to help. Care Network Help at Home can also offer short-term practical help during times of crisis, or when returning home from hospital. You can also call 01954 211919 for more information.
- Cambridgeshire libraries offer EngAGE - monthly social events, computer assistance, 'knit and natter' groups for the over-50s. They also offer the Library at Home service - a network of volunteers who can bring books to you in your home if you are unable to visit a library. Call 0354 045 5225 for more information.
- Contact the Elderly organises monthly tea parties for over-75s who live alone. Visit the Contact The Elderly website and click 'Be our guest'.
- Royal Voluntary Service has volunteers who support older people to be independent at home, and active in their communities, as well as organising social activities in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Earith and St Ives.
- Friends of the Elderly offers a telephone befriending service, where a volunteer will call at least every fortnight. Call 0330 332 1110, or email [email protected] for more information.
- The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline offering information, advice and friendship to older people. Call any time - it is a 24 hour service - on 0800 4 70 80 90
Mental health support
Our Keep Your Head website has information on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people and adults across Cambridgeshire.