2017 Innocent Campaign for Ending Loneliness

Innocent UK – the company responsible for helping over two million people a week get more of their five a day, thanks to their ultra popular smoothie range – are partnering once again this year with Age UK. Their aim is to help fight loneliness with the help of a little woollen hat.

The campaign started in 2003, when they had the bright idea to ask members of the public to knit the hats. These would then be popped on top of their increasingly successful smoothies, where they look absolutely adorable. Each one sold would then generate 25p for Age UK.

Clearly every little helps, as this simple idea has now transformed into a huge annual event with an astronomical 6 million hats now being knitted. In terms of money raised, that’s generated more than £2 million for the charity, and that number is set to get bigger year after year.

If you fancy getting involved in the campaign yourself, the easiest way would be to simply buy a smoothie. It’s a delicious way of donating to a worthwhile charity.

Or, if you feel like getting creative and making a hat yourself, there’s a ton of cool and colourful templates available on their website, with examples suitable for absolute beginners all the way up to to knitting aficionados. Not only is it a great way of raising money for a good cause, it’s also lots of fun, as we know very well, with arts and crafts being a long time staple of our diverse line up of activities.

The Problem With Loneliness

We all know that being lonely is a really unpleasant feeling. However, what you might not know is the sheer extent to which it can impact a person’s physical and mental well-being.

Loneliness can have a wide array of negative effects, which can be far more harmful than many of us would imagine.

For example, a person suffering from loneliness is estimated to have a mortality rate of around 26% higher than they would otherwise. This is greater than the estimated impact of obesity or smoking.

It can increase blood pressure, which is known to contribute to conditions such as heart disease and increase the possibility of that individual suffering a stroke. And the latter is just one example of the increased risk of disability for those suffering with long term feelings isolation.

Psychologically, the impact is just as severe. In general, people who experience loneliness suffer from a much higher rate of cognitive decline. This can contribute to an increased risk of dementia, which is estimated to increase by around 64%. There’s also a greater likelihood of other issues, such as depression and anxiety.

What this shows us is that suffering from loneliness is not to be taken lightly. It’s not a case of someone simply feeling a little down or a minor issue that one can learn to live with without issue. We are, after all, social creatures and taking away such a vital part of what makes us who we are can have a long-lasting and devastating impact on those unlucky enough to suffer from it.

So What Can We Do To Help?

The simplest way you can support Age UK in their excellent work is by buying the woollen hat topped smoothies, or through any other means, such as donating directly or through one of the many charity shops they run.

Age UK estimates that the problem is so far reaching that around 200,000 elderly people have not had contact with friends or family in over a month. Furthermore, they state that an astonishing 3.9 million view television as their main form of company.

In order to combat this, they offer help through day centres, social events, befriending services, trips to cafes and restaurants, IT training courses and more. This focus on bringing people together through fun activities is something that we view as integral to our work as a care home.

How Can Melrose Offer Relief For Loneliness?

As a care home, one of our key responsibilities is to ensure that all of our residents are helped to integrate through our social activities, which include everything from exercise classes to piano concerts. We ensure we keep our full list of typical monthly activities up to date and aligned to the needs of our residents.

We think that by having a wide variety of things to do, we can find plenty for everyone to enjoy and provide a great way of making new friends.‍

We understand that moving from a home, especially one which a person may have lived in for a very long time, can cause a great deal of anxiety. One of the causes of that anxiety is a fear of becoming further isolated. Not only is this not the case – with Melrose Care Home providing the opportunity for many new fulfilling relationships to be formed – but it also means that loved ones can spend more quality time together, without the stress and pressure of needing to provide care.

One thing is for certain and that’s whatever kind of care is needed, there’s tons of support out there to stop loneliness from having such a negative impact on so many lives.