Why loneliness?

Hounslow Giving conducted a feasibility study in the Spring of 2019 which identified areas within the Borough of Hounslow which needed ‘more help’. Loneliness and Isolation, physical and mental disability across generations are the areas which Hounslow Giving will be focusing their efforts on. How can you help as a business or as an individual? Can you donate time by volunteering or money to help support the work within the Borough? Do you have some office space available that a group can use? Do you have any old office equipment that could be of huge value to an organisation?

There are many ways to give back to your community and really help change peoples lives for the better. You may choose to help specific groups or many groups all at once. Perhaps you are interested in helping young carers, of lonely and isolated young adults?

Maybe your interest is in helping older people who are lonely and isolated or the parents of children with physically and mentally disabilities? There are many ways to help.

Loneliness: Physical & Mental Impact

Loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: research shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)

Social networks and friendships not only have an impact on reducing the risk of mortality or developing certain diseases, but they also help individuals to recover when they do fall ill (Marmot, 2010).

Loneliness and physical health

  • Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26% (Holt-Lunstad, 2015)
  • The effect of loneliness and isolation on mortality is comparable to the impact of well-known risk factors such as obesity, and has a similar influence as cigarette smoking (Holt-Lunstad, 2010)
  • Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke (Valtorta et al, 2016)
  • Loneliness increases the risk of high blood pressure (Hawkley et al, 2010)
  • Lonely individuals are also at higher risk of the onset of disability (Lund et al, 2010)

Loneliness and mental health

  • Loneliness puts individuals at greater risk of cognitive decline (James et al, 2011)
  • One study concludes lonely people have a 64% increased chance of developing clinical dementia (Holwerda et al, 2012)
  • Lonely individuals are more prone to depression (Cacioppo et al, 2006) (Green et al, 1992)
  • Loneliness and low social interaction are predictive of suicide in older age (O’Connell et al, 2004)

Maintaining Independence

Academic research is clear that preventing and alleviating loneliness is vital to enabling older people to remain as independent as possible. Lonely individuals are more likely to:

  • Visit their GP, have higher use of medication, higher incidence of falls and increased risk factors for long term care (Cohen, 2006)
  • Undergo early entry into residential or nursing care (Russell et al, 1997)
  • Use accident and emergency services independent of chronic illness. (Geller, Janson, McGovern and Valdini, 1999)

Would you like to learn more?

Hounslow Giving believes that everyone can give money, time, space, ideas & networks to help change lives for the better. For more information please contact Parule on 075381 55535 or send us an email.