What you should know about senior loneliness and social isolation
Based on the latest study of the U.S. Census Bureau, over 11 million people of aged 65 and older live alone. According to a study conducted by the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, about 43% of the seniors living alone are reported loneliness on a regular basis.
Loneliness and social isolation are often experienced by most elders at present of which can greatly affect the health of your loved ones. Within the premises of loneliness, it is usually referred to “being unhappy with the emotional and social relationships that you do and do not have”.
Older people do feel at their loneliest after the death of a spouse especially if the spouse had been his/her best friend, lover, companion, confidant all in one. They can be lonely for several reasons may it be with his/her relationships or in any setting they are at.
Studies show that younger adults and older adults relatively have a similar frequency in terms of saying that they feel lonely. However, when older people say they do, this feeling can be intense. Why? This is mainly because of the changes their health, lifestyle, roles, and support go through. To name a few, it can mean having fewer chances to develop new friendships with people, moving away from a community, and not wanting to take the “gamble” of losing another friend, etc.
Dignity Home Care, Inc., the finest source of non-medical home care in Farnam Street Omaha NE, reveals to you today on how loneliness and senior isolation affects your elderly loved one’s health and what you can do to help them. We want you, the family members and friends, to reach out to them because only the people outside their “bubble” at the meantime can actually see and realize that you need to pop out this debilitating space.
The two interrelated issues often lead to major negative repercussions such as:
Increased risk of death
Aging offers a myriad of diseases and complications. If severe symptoms develop, there is lesser chance of having a prompt medical attention given that they do not have a network of confidantes.
Solution: A professional in-home caregiver can provide companionship.
Mental and physical harm
Since social interactions and sharing recreations involve physical and mental practice, having less or no physiological and cognitive workout can deactivate their functions.
Solution: Connect seniors with social resources such as community events, meal delivery programs, special interest groups, health clubs, educational classes, churches and travel clubs to give them opportunities to meet people of all ages.
Higher vulnerability to elder abuse
Since they are already used to not expressing their thoughts and feelings, they might fall victim to abuse. This isolation can also be a result of an abuser attempting to isolate them from other people to avoid discovery. Studies show a sharp connection between social isolation and higher rates of elder abuse.
Solution: Educate them why speaking up is important and how they can express in their own way without fear and contempt. Maintain your connections with your senior loved ones to ensure their safety.
Marginalization of LGBTQI seniors
According to the Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders, this group of seniors is twice as likely to live alone. Discrimination and stigma are still hindrances of this community and with age topping that, imagine the burden they must be carrying.
Solution: Engage them in LGBTQI community groups and online resources to help them avoid isolation. It takes one to know one; hence, the more they feel belongingness, the lesser they feel loneliness.
Older people are particularly prone to chronic or long-term diseases such as arthritis, chronic lung disease, depression, and impaired mobility. The aforementioned ailments are sharply associated with loneliness and social isolation. Loneliness can be stressful in so many ways—fear, anxiety, medication problems—that it sometimes reaches to the extent of suicide.
Solution: Visit them over the holiday or call them in scheduled days to maintain their connections and ties. Recognize their feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression. Get the appropriate care and treatment for them.
Speaking of care, call Dignity Home Care, Inc. today for a trusted quality non-medical home care in Farnam Street Omaha NE for your elderly loved ones! We bring companionship and quality services right at the comfort of your homes!