If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

What can we do about loneliness?

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Tori_Scope
Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
edited May 2022 in Coffee lounge
In light of Loneliness Awareness Week, we wanted to open up a conversation about loneliness. As the Marmalade Trust point out:
We all feel lonely at times – it’s a natural human emotion. We're biologically wired for social contact, and loneliness is our signal that we need more. 

After a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions, more of us are experiencing loneliness than ever, which is having a great impact on our wellbeing. We need to remove the stigma and shame surrounding loneliness. And the best way to do that? Let's talk about it! Let's make this the year we accept that loneliness exists. 

Disability and loneliness

According to the Office for National Statistics, the proportion of disabled people who report feeling lonely often or always is almost four times that of non-disabled people, with the greatest disparity for young adults, aged 16 to 24 years old.

The charity Sense also report that half of disabled people say they are lonely, and one in four feel lonely every day, noting that:
The causes of loneliness among disabled people are complex. 

Many of the barriers to making friends and meeting people are practical, such as the need for accessible transport and buildings, financial support and appropriate social care. 

A lack of understanding and awareness of disability is also a significant obstacle to making connections and forming friendships. 49% of non-disabled people feel that they do not have anything in common with disabled people and 26% admit to avoiding engaging in conversation with a disabled person. 
We've also heard stories of many loved ones of disabled people saying that they often feel lonely, as it can sometimes feel as though they're the only one going through it.

It's therefore really important that we all acknowledge the impact loneliness can have on people, especially disabled people and their families, and how we can move forwards.

small toy figure standing alone in front of scrabble tiles that spell out the word loneliness

What can we do about it?

We'd love to hear some ideas from you about how to combat loneliness and isolation, but I've also put a few ideas below :)

The online community

The online community is always here for you. If you're ever feeling lonely, why not have a chat in the coffee lounge? It's a great place to have a casual chat with other members, as well as play some fun games. 

Contact a loved one

If you have friends or family that you get along with, why not get in touch with them? Sometimes a quick call, text, or videocall can really make a difference. As restrictions have eased, you could also try meeting up with people in-person. Going for a walk or a quick coffee can be good ways of keeping your mind and body active with some company.

There have been times when I've felt a little isolated or lonely, and taking the plunge and sending a silly meme or funny video to a friend has opened up a conversation. This has really lifted my mood in the past, and given me more confidence in reaching out to people.

Sign-up for a call companion or befriender

Not everyone has friends or family, or people around them, that they enjoy speaking to. Some people also feel as though they don't want to 'burden' their loved ones with phone calls. If that sounds like you, then perhaps you could consider signing up to be matched with a call companion or befriender. 

Here are two examples of organisations you can use to be matched with someone who'll call you for a natter every one or two weeks. Phone befriending schemes are often run from local hubs, so it's worth looking around locally too. If you're struggling to find something, let me know and I'll have a search for you :)
  • Reengage - for anyone living alone or in sheltered housing, who struggles to get out
  • Age UK - for anyone over 60
You could also consider signing up to become a volunteer call companion or befriender yourself.

Join an online group

Lots of events and activities have moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic, so there are plenty of groups to sign-up to if you're not comfortable meeting with people in-person just yet.
  • Find out if Age UK is running anything for people in your area
  • Join an online choir, such as the Sofa Singers
  • See if there are any online book clubs running in your area. These are sometimes run by individuals, or local libraries
  • Sign-up to Meetup and find social groups in your area 

Volunteer

Volunteering can be a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. There are lots of ways to find volunteering opportunities, so it's worth having a search online for opportunities in your area. You can also use do-it.life to find plenty of opportunities across the country. 

Say Hullo

Sometimes a simple phone call with someone friendly can make all the difference. Hullo lets you have a natter with someone for up to 20 minutes, as many times as you like, from 9am to 9om every day.

Have you been feeling lonely lately? What helps you to feel less lonely? Has coronavirus impacted how lonely you feel?


National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

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Comments

  • leeCal
    leeCal Community member Posts: 7,550 Disability Gamechanger
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    Also for older people
    https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/

     ?

    “This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple. Your philosophy is simple kindness.” 
    ― Dalai Lama XIV

  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
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    Looks great, thanks for sharing @leeCal

    National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,125 Disability Gamechanger
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    I would definitely agree that covid has meant more and more people becoming lonely and I can see why that would mean a bigger % of disabled people have suffered/continue to suffer lonliness.
    I hope any scope members who are struggling with this will reach out so we can offer a hand of friendship to them.

    2024 Election won

  • CoffeeFirst
    CoffeeFirst Scope Member Posts: 203 Pioneering
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    I’ve had times in life when I’ve felt lonely. Through feeling like this I can now understand how it can impact mental health and well-being. 

    Definitely reaching out helps and knowing there are others who feel the same all helps.

  • JKC
    JKC Community member Posts: 24 Courageous
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    I was going through a divorce 2018/19 and was just trying to adapt to being alone again which was not very pleasant, by the time covid19 arrived it became a bit like a busman's holiday for me although i still hated it, however it helped re-focus my life and what is important to me, i had shut down from letting anyone in (especially female) for obvious reasons, but just after Christmas this year, i decided "i don't wanna live like this" what is gone is gone..close chapter.

     I decided to change my lifestyle as well, stopped smoking April 2021 and have not had one since, bought a mountain bike and started getting fit again, im now also ready to meet females again, and put myself back in the dating market at 57, but i feel 37, something i could not face earlier.

    So the covid-19 years have not entirely been wasted, although im still alone and feel lonely, my outlook is way better than it was when pre-and early covid time, i feel and look better, fitter and more confident than i have for quite some time.

    I hope somebody can take some hope from this...or whatever you can.
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Scope Posts: 12,499 Disability Gamechanger
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    Thanks for sharing your experience @JKC :) It sounds like you've managed to make some really positive changes in your life, which is great! Best of luck with starting dating again, whenever that starts to happen. 

    National Campaigns Officer at Scope, she/her

  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    I'm really lonely and feel. Quite down today. I live with my mum as I have problems with my own flat anf also mobility issues so mum does all the shopping cooking and cleaning. We rub each other the wrong way and I really want to buy my own place in a year when I qualify after my studies but she expects to move into new place with me. I don't expect to get more than a 2 bed at most anf there's no room as mum is a hoarder as well. I don't have many friends not genuine ones anyway and my mobility leaves me feeling isolated. I see people on social media with thousands of friends and 100s of birthday wishes etc and feel more alone I'm usually quite upbeat but definitely feel down today but wouldn't call it depression yet 
  • shazzawood
    shazzawood Community member Posts: 30 Connected
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    Geegee ..sorry that your feeling low lately it is not a nice place to be.we are all here for each other..and sit down and talk to your mom I am sure at the end of it she will agree.
  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    Thank you I will try and explain I need my own space when she is in a better mood
  • Tiffy1691
    Tiffy1691 Community member Posts: 27 Courageous
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    Covid hasn't changed my life much apart from not having my weekly shopping trip with daughter and lots of appointments being conducted by phone. Of course I have failed to remember a mask when I have gone on the odd outing to my shame ?. I also find people are less willing to chat but I understand that. Other things that have made me feel really isolated are my PIP stopping and the possible return of cancer after a total hysterectomy in 2019. Loneliness leaves you questioning your existence and on account of your age, is it worth it and is this ache or that pain from my arthritis, my back condition or cancer ? Now I have to summon up the strength and determination to prepare myself for the possibility of an appeal and the chance of bad news regarding my health. This site is my crutch at such times and help me keep my sanity. Thank you everyone for simply being there. Bless you all xx
  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    Sorry to hear about the cancer other conditions and pip. It's awful going through appeal process. I don't have many friends so also find this site a lifeline 
  • Garza
    Garza Community member Posts: 149 Pioneering
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    one of the worst feeling lonely even when in the company of friends and loved one, I experience this at times due to my depression and it is so frustrating and emotionally draining
  • natz2009
    natz2009 Community member Posts: 76 Connected
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    As soon as i was dignosed with my condition everyone i had in my life where just non exsitant going through cancer scares and few other things i was dropped like a hot potato it deffanetly can be lonley living with disabilities just remember you are the strong one you are the survivor and it is your life empower yourself and never let anyone have controll over your mind keep strong and carry on always xxx
  • JKC
    JKC Community member Posts: 24 Courageous
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    I am so sorry to hear of the few of you that are suffering with pain, anxiety, depression and loneliness, i have had them all and they are indeed awful to get through, and many times you feel like your on an invisible island that nobody else can see, and your world feels like your looking through a one way window (you can see the people in the world going by, but they cannot see you) you feel alone & isolated...not at all pleasant.
    Things change, people..circumstances..never remain forever. they alter, i know by my own life..many years ago i lived on the street without family or home, you cannot get more isolated or alone than that, but like i said things change..even if they don't feel like they are going to.....they do in time.
    Now i have had my own place for ages and my life is on the up, i still get troubles, frustrations, pain and heartache..just like everybody else..but the way i cope with them is different.
    So to Geegee, tiffy and garza..my thoughts are with you all and hope you see a bright new dawn in your lives soon, as i was fortunate enough too.

  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    Thankyou for your kind words 

    I've just signed back up to match.com just for the company no desire for a relationship
  • JKC
    JKC Community member Posts: 24 Courageous
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    Well Geegee, each to there own I guess, I'm ready if one looks promising, if not, well I'm sure I won't fall off the edge of the world. It would be nice to form some decent friendships to in and around Durham for me, so I can understand why you joined match.com, good friends and decent company can be hard to find sometimes.
  • Tiffy1691
    Tiffy1691 Community member Posts: 27 Courageous
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    Great advice thankyou all. I guess all of us feel the limits on us all the time as you're all describing. You see, I'm already on the way back up. Thanks guys xx

  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    @JKC yes I feel the same just be nice to have some company but not looking for a relationship. I'm dieting snd took a week off been eating loads oh sugar anf think it's made me feel low 
  • JKC
    JKC Community member Posts: 24 Courageous
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    oh I hope not, if I stuff my face to much with Sweet's & chocolate I'm hyper on the night and struggle to sleep, but because I'm 6ft tall I carry any weight I gain,,at least that's what I tell myself ?, but yeh, do you feel a little guilty now? because judging from what I can see of your profile Geegee you don't strike me as big enough to warrant a diet.
  • Geegeenumber1
    Geegeenumber1 Community member Posts: 1,067 Pioneering
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    ha ha the filter is very flattering im very overweight im not used to sugar etc back o track tmrw
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