People across Lancashire are being encouraged to do their bit to help reduce loneliness amongst older people this summer – simply by sending a postcard.
Postcards for Kindness was initially piloted by Lancashire County Council in Summer 2018 as a way to help reduce loneliness in care home residents across the county. The project was such a success that it was adapted for the festive season and saw hundreds of people sending Christmas cards to their local care homes. Now the campaign has been launched for its second year with the support of even more care homes.
More than 100 care homes have signed up to take part this year and members of the community are being encouraged to get involved and do their bit to help reduce loneliness, simply by sending postcards from their trips or holiday to one of their local care homes.
Talib Yaseen, Executive Director of Transformation for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System, said: “Cards for Kindness is a wonderful initiative encouraging community spirit through the simple and nostalgic act of writing and sending a postcard.
It is a great example of local people, health and care, councils and community organisations across Lancashire working together to tackle an important social issue. There was great feedback from residents of care homes last year about how the postcards helped to initiate conversations, sharing of memories and positive feelings among residents in the care homes and we hope for more of the same this summer.”
Research shows that there are many health benefits from having conversations about past holidays and trips, bringing back happy memories and encouraging residents to talk to others, especially for people living with dementia. This campaign aims to promote these conversations and it is always lovely to receive a card through the post. Loneliness is a growing problem amongst older people, and in care homes it can be a particularly difficult issue to resolve. Figures from Age UK show that 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for a month, and 60 percent of people in care homes get no visitors.
With changing family and community structures and an ageing population, increasing numbers of people, especially older adults, are becoming socially isolated or lonely. Chronic social isolation can reduce life expectancy by an equivalent amount to smoking, with chronic loneliness increasingly recognised as having far reaching consequences for the health and wellbeing of both individuals and wider communities, studies have even shown that those who report a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease
It’s easy to get involved and ten minutes of your time could really make a difference to local care home residents.
To find out more about sending a postcard this summer and to view the details of participating care homes visit healthierlsc.co.uk/CardsForKindness