Minister Comes up With an Action Plan Against Lonely Seniors: Go on!
Loneliness among the elderly should be out of the taboo sphere, says care minister Hugo de Jonge. It is important that people who feel lonely seek help more quickly. Society must also be more willing to lend them a helping hand.
Visitations are important to them. Gifts cheer them up too. So why not give them some of the best electric trimmers for seniors. You can surely make a senior happy.
Minister De Jonge launched an action plan “One Against Loneliness”. His goal is to identify and combat loneliness among older people. More than half of the over-75’s in the Netherlands say they feel lonely to a greater or lesser extent. That is now more than 700,000 people and as a result of the aging population, the number will rise to 1.1 million seniors by 2030.
People do not automatically ring the bell at municipalities to report that they are lonely. When he was still an alderman in Rotterdam, De Jonge, therefore, arranged for the over-75s to be visited every year. Now he wants to implement that approach nationwide.
Loneliness is a sliding scale: an older person stops working, a few years later a loved one drops out, then a good friend. In the meantime, seniors are getting worse and worse, so that social contacts – through a walk in the neighborhood or the daily trip to the supermarket – slowly but surely dilute.
“Ultimately, I want to see a change in the percentage of people over 75 who have feelings of loneliness (now 54 percent, ed.)”, “Society is not a biscuit factory.”
It is important that the elderly are not addressed because they are pitiful. That’s the wrong tone. Because everyone feels alone sometimes, but you have to pick out the people who are totally in social isolation.
Minister De Jonge will not oblige councilors in the country to do anything but will try to encourage them through this action plan. He also advocates a ‘loneliness reporting point’ in every municipality, where people – for example, a shopkeeper, driver, or hairdresser – can turn with their suspicions that someone in their area is lonely.