Approximately 3.6 million older people live alone in the UK – and, according to Age UK, almost two million of them say they often feel ignored or invisible.

The impact of Covid-19, with the need to self-isolate, social distance and live in lockdown, has simply exacerbated the deep loneliness suffered by many over 75s.

NorseCare offers a solution to this by providing compassionate, specialist support in its residential homes and housing with care schemes.

The organisation recognises the desperate need to combat loneliness and through its experience and careful approach, helps thousands of older people across Norfolk feel valued, looked after and part of a community.

We speak to multi-site manager, Laura Campbell, about the common signs of loneliness and how NorseCare combats social isolation.

Q: What causes loneliness?

A: Loneliness can affect anyone, but older people are at greater risk for several reasons. It may be that they live alone and find that in itself depressing. They may have lost a partner or close friend or have health problems such as hearing loss. Being cut off from family, friends and the wider community for long periods of time can also have a detrimental effect on a person's wellbeing.

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, social isolation and loneliness can negatively impact mental and physical health. They are associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke and can exacerbate cognitive decline and dementia.

Q: How do you support someone who has moved into a care setting and may be feeling lonely?

A: At NorseCare, when we have new admissions, we work closely with them, their families and the local council to help settle them into their new homes. We have wellbeing teams dedicated to spending time with residents to identify what they like and dislike and introduce them to others to help build a circle of friends.

Eastern Daily Press: NorseCare has wellbeing teams dedicated to spending time with residents to help them settle into their new homeNorseCare has wellbeing teams dedicated to spending time with residents to help them settle into their new home (Image: 2022 Daniel Lightening Photography)

Our care homes can be a good option for people who were completely isolated at home and will benefit from the hustle and bustle of a communal setting. However, there is a settling in period that can be challenging, especially for people who have recently lost their partner or suddenly had to leave their home. We make sure we don’t rush people into socialising or taking part in activities if they don’t feel ready.

NorseCare also offers housing with care schemes, where tenants live independently in their own flats, with access to as much support as they need. This is often suited to people who want to remain independent and have their own space, but with the reassurance that there is someone on-hand to pop in for a chat or help with chores if required.

Q: What are the common signs of loneliness?

A: For both families with elderly relatives and carers, it’s important to recognise the early signs of loneliness so that you can address them as soon as possible. Common indicators include purposely isolating themselves and not wanting to be around other people; there may also be changes in behaviour, such as stopping eating and drinking.

At NorseCare, we take the time to get to know each of our residents so that we can spot signs of loneliness early on. This can be more difficult with people with dementia – who may not be able to resume normal engagement with others or are unable to overcome it themselves – which is why the skills of our specialist dementia team are so valuable.

Q: What can you do about loneliness in old age?

A: Communication with the families and friends of residents is key. If we suspect someone at NorseCare is feeling lonely or isolated, we’ll reach out to loved ones and sometimes other residents to discuss how we can best support them. We work closely with various local groups and societies to provide lots of opportunities for socialising, and we review this regularly to ensure we are providing the most fulfilling activities.

Eastern Daily Press: Carers take the time to get know each resident so they can spot signs of loneliness and social isolationCarers take the time to get know each resident so they can spot signs of loneliness and social isolation (Image: 2022 Daniel Lightening Photography, all rights reserved.)

We recognise that some people may prefer one-on-one engagement rather than group activities and will always take their preferences and wishes into account. When face-to-face meetings are not possible, we can help residents keep in touch with their loved ones via video calls.

Q: What if the situation doesn’t improve?

A: If someone becomes a high risk and their health is deteriorating rapidly, we can work with GPs to try to help find a suitable solution. We also have a specialist mental health team within NorseCare for our carers to liaise with, especially if there are concerns about behaviours or medication for people with dementia.

As a company we try to avoid using medication wherever possible, but sometimes it is essential to improve someone’s health. Throughout NorseCare, the wellbeing and mental health of those in our care is always our priority.

To find out more about the services NorseCare provides, visit You can also contact the head office on 01603 894366 or email