Link to Podcast from CBC: "White Coat, Black Art - Prescription for Loneliness"
According to The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, 30% of female seniors reported that they are lonely. Loneliness is as damaging to health as smoking, diabetes, and obesity.
Lesley Adamson 92-years-old is taking part in a study to help prevent loneliness by co-housing. Goal win: win, affordable housing for university students and more engagement and less loneliness for seniors. Cara Duncan 23-year-old student studying Gerontology and Lesley matched after filling out a compatibility form and had an interview prior to moving in.
They have formed an otherwise unlikely friendship over the year, Lesley thinks of Cara “like a daughter.” Hear about how Cara takes Lesley to a sushi restaurant and order on an iPad. She was present when Lesley had some falls, able to help her find things and get groceries, etc.
Lesley’s daughter was worried about her mother being alone lives in a different city. This way she can stay at home comfortably as long as possible, being part of this co-housing give Lesley and family peace of mind.
Studies like this have shown that treating loneliness with interaction and compassion prevents the need for drugs, admissions to hospitals reduce the inability to cope. There are many co-housing projects like this going on.
In the UK doctors are being encouraged to treat loneliness by social prescribing. Dr. Mayur Lakhani, a family doctor and president of Britain's Royal College of General Practitioners talked about a particular patient who had so much testing, the trial of different drugs and really her problems were related to chronic loneliness.
Now MDs in the UK can refer seniors to social prescribers whose role is to help with housing, lunch clubs, having a volunteer visit them. Social Prescribers work out of GP practices. This podcast is important so relevant in the paradigm shift in modern medicine, as we are shifting to holistic integrative medication. In 11 community health centres in Ontario social prescribing has begun, In Quebec, Doctors can refer free museum visits for seniors.
Humanity, kindness, and compassion go a long way. A great reminder to check in your friends, family, and seniors in your community.
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