Does your staff notice lonely residents in your community?

elder lady sitting on a bench outside alone

“Whenever I am filling out forms and asked if I live alone, I always fill in the blank space with ‘Yes’, and somewhere near it, I write ‘by choice’. The form taker always asks what I mean. I explain that I like to be alone. It is solitude after years of too many people around me. To be alone does not mean that one is lonely. Too often, people confuse that fact. I am a people person who loves solitude. When I need companionship, I know where and who to go visit.”

A friend was repeating the conversation about an application form she received with that comment on it. Since it struck her as unusual, she brought it to the attention of a colleague for discussion.

Loneliness has been a severe problem everywhere during the pandemic but has eased up some since the waning of isolation restrictions. For some older adults, loneliness comes from losing friends and/or family to the coronavirus.

Loneliness is devastating. It lowers the resistance of immunity to illness, declines cognitive ability, and increases high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. It is known to increase depression. It attacks the physical, mental, and emotional health.

Loneliness remains a problem in many senior living and assisted living communities. It is a target for employees of those communities to notice and help eradicate it.

Employees who have benefitted from excellent training practices extend friendliness to all residents and coworkers. Though, it calls for more effort than a friendly ‘hello’. Show sincere interest in a lonely resident and maintain a running conversation with them. It helps. Encourage them to partake in activities you describe as lively and amusing. Introducing them directly to other residents you know will extend kindness and caring.

Social isolation crept into all aspects of senior living and LTC communities.

The training and practice meetings share examples of dissolving loneliness when spotted. This also refers to coworkers. They, too, were affected by the devastation the pandemic left behind.

Cultivate and seek social connections during your work day. Friendships are a cure for loneliness. Cross-generational interactions are excellent for defraying feelings of being unnoticed or unwanted. Social connections are key factors in warding off depression and dementia.

Kind Dining ® curriculum was designed because we care. We believe developing and expanding the skills of your staff are signs that the organization is investing in them. This investment works to reduce the epidemic of loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not truly belonging. The training and practice instill compassion and provide a true quality of life for your residents.

Be ♥ Kind Tip: Loneliness attacks physical, mental, and emotional health.