Norfolk care home leads fight against loneliness

De Lucy House care home Diss

Friends Dorothy (left) and Pearl at the De Lucy House care home in Diss - Credit: Nikki Clark

Tackling loneliness among elderly people is a pressing issue for a Norfolk care home, where friendships have grown stronger during lockdown.

Chronic loneliness is a problem for many older adults, with six to 13pc of over-65s in the UK saying that they felt lonely all or most of the time.

Older adults who are socially isolated are also at a higher risk of both mental and physical health issues.

International Day of Friendship on Friday, July 30, sees countries around the world celebrate the power of human connection.

De Lucy House, a care home in Diss, is focusing on how the periods of lockdown actually strengthened friendships within the home, amongst its residents.

Nikki Clark, activities co-ordinator at the home, said “We have some lovely friendships between residents at De Lucy House. One dynamic duo is Pearl and Dorothy. Dorothy arrived last December and soon after turned 100 years old.

"The two ladies made friends through sitting together at lunch time, as we encourage socialisation throughout the day. Now they often sit together for coffee and activities.

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"If one of the ladies isn’t feeling up to sitting in a communal area, the other will pay a visit to her room to catch up there and offer support if needed.”

Residents at the home are encouraged to interact through the many scheduled activities, as well as one to one time with both staff members and each other. However, most of the residents do not need encouraging, and will befriend others with no trouble.

The two ladies have recently welcomed a new friend to the group, a gentleman of 99 years old. Pearl describes him as a “real gentleman” and admires his taste in jeans.

As De Lucy House provides both residential and dementia care, there are some residents who are further along their dementia journey than others, but this does not stop close bonds from forming. Many residents will take on a more caring role towards their friends who are living with dementia.