Humans are essentially social beings.
Even today, in the 21st Century, the ultimate punishment within the prison system, apart from physical torture and death, is solitary confinement. There can be nothing worse than the emotional torture of removing all meaningful human contact from a living person. The effects can be profound upon the person including hypersensitivity to external stimuli; perceptual disturbances, hallucinations, and derealisation experiences; affective disturbances, such as anxiety and panic attacks; difficulties with thinking, memory, and concentration; paranoia; and problems with impulse control. Basically, a lack of meaningful connection can be extremely negative for any person.
According to psychiatrists Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz, social alienation is an inevitable result of contemporary society’s preoccupation with materialism and frantic “busyness.” Their decades of research supports the idea that a lack of relationships can cause multiple problems with physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The research is clear and devastating: isolation is fatal.
In the study of 7,000 men and women in Alameda County, Calif., which began in 1965, Lisa F. Berkman and S. Leonard Syme found that “people who were disconnected from others were roughly three times more likely to die during the nine-year study than people with strong social ties”.
Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and well-being. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Conversely, the health risks of being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.
Connections Count has been borne out of the work of Evolve Care Group in the South West of England. In 2015 the team at Evolve decided to challenge the status quo. There was a clear desire throughout the organisation to improve the quality of emotional well-being amongst the people that the organisation supported.
Through the work of Evolve Academy, the team has developed a model of care for its care homes, based on the work of Professor Tom Kitwood.
The Connections Course run by Evolve Academy builds on the work of Tom Kitwood to develop the understanding of attendees of the concepts of Identity, Attachment, Inclusion, Occupation, Comfort, and Love.
Through understanding these concepts those that work in Health and Social Care are able to improve both the number and quality of connections that they create with those that they support
Few people would choose to live in a group setting like a care home, and whilst people are in a group, most of the time they are in a group of unknown people. Without meaningful connections being created, these individuals are just at risk of the profound effects of solitary confinement as a person in the penal system. Clearly, this is not the outcome that we wish for anyone to experience within a caring environment.
Learning how to create sustainable, meaningful connections can make all the difference to a person’s life. This site is dedicated to supporting people to create such connections in whichever sector they work in. Together we can create real positive change in the way that humans connect with each other.