Recent statistics have shown that social Isolation and loneliness is becoming more common amongst the older population in the UK. “Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without speaking to anyone at all” (Age UK) and “currently 1 in 3 older people in the UK live alone” (The Health Foundation) – a sad statistic which indicates the current lack of support available to those who chose to live independently during their golden years.
With the NHS being stretched thin due to COVID-19, finding ways to support the senior community and ensuring their mental well-being is vital to the UK healthcare system. Bad mental well-being and physical health has been directly linked with “increased risk of social isolation and loneliness which is known to be as harmful as being obese and can increase the likelihood of depression and heart disease” (The Health Foundation) which makes it more important than ever that we find solutions to improve the quality of life of those living independently by finding ways to help them stay connected to the world around them.
Older people can be anxious with hospital discharges, concerned their physical health can deteriorate without the 24/7 support they were receiving in hospital. Given that “there is no question that your state of mind can dictate how quickly you can return from a physical setback,” (Dr. Jeff Huffman) devices such as ETHEL play a vital part in ensuring the continued help and support of senior people by enabling them to instantly connect to their necessary caregivers.
ETHEL can reduce loneliness in older people through the use of our video calling, live events and photo/ video albums features people can stay connected remotely. Not only can users connect to friends, family and carers through the touch of a button, the Ethel is also capable of allowing more isolated groups to join in community groups and online learning opportunities through pre-approved online live-streaming services making remote digital care an essential through this period of social isolation and distancing.
“An estimated 9 million people across the UK, almost a fifth of the population, report feeling lonely, greatly increasing their risk of poor health.” (The Health Foundation) Mental well-being doesn’t just affect the older people population, it affects us all and it is important that we work together as a society to ensure the safety and wellbeing of one another, making sure that no one is left behind.