Loneliness is something we all experience from time-to-time. But for older Americans, feelings of loneliness can be acute and long-lasting. According to the most recent Census figures, 28% of Americans aged 65 or older lived alone. And as seniors age, their chance of personal isolation only increases. As the years go on, good friends retire or pass away. Children move to other states. Spouses die. And as mobility decreases with age, it becomes more and more difficult for seniors to leave their homes to seek out new opportunities to connect with other adults.
The way our society treats seniors certainly doesn’t help. We tend to compartmentalize our elders at the edge of our social interactions where they’re forgotten or outright abandoned. It’s no wonder, then, that loneliness is so rampant. And unfortunately it can take a lasting toll.
Loneliness Negatively Impacts Health
Apart from the negative impacts loneliness has on mental health, it can also have a profoundly negative impacts on physical health. Such as:
- Increased mortality risk.
- High blood pressure.
- Increased risk of dementia.
- Major risk factor for depression.
Lonely seniors are also more likely to fall victim to elder abuse. This shouldn’t be surprising. When you think about slowly losing your sources of companionship, friendship, and emotional support over the course of many years, it would be so hard to maintain a positive outlook.
For most seniors, more meaningful communication through increased social interaction is the answer to combatting loneliness. Unfortunately this isn’t always something seniors can accomplish on their own. Many times, lonely seniors withdraw from the world or lack the physical or cognitive ability to connect with others. That why it’s so important for loved ones to watch for signs of loneliness and create opportunities for real interaction with the world.
Home Care is a Solution
If you’re concerned a loved one is too isolated, home care offers a convenient solution. Through home care, qualified caregivers make regular visits to senior’s homes to help them with everyday tasks like housekeeping or personal care. They can also provide an important conduit to the outside world as well as predictable companionship.
If you live in the Phoenix area, Generations Home Care can be your source for in-home caregiving for your elderly loved one. If you’d like more information, give us a call today at 602-595-HOME(4663) or you can read about our free in-home assessment here. Loneliness is a common affliction but fortunately there’s a simple cure.