Elderly and social isolation is a growing, dangerous epidemic across the nation. Up to one-third of all older adults live alone, and for various reasons (limited mobility, chronic health issues, and loss of friends and family, just to name a few) socialization turns out to be very difficult to maintain.
The truth is, isolation in aging parents has been shown to be as dangerous for their health as smoking 15 cigarettes every day, with an elevated risk for heart-related illnesses, stroke, and even premature death, based on a study performed by the National Institute for Health Care Management.
It is important to understand the key differences when considering isolation and loneliness. As the late John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., former director for the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago explains, social isolation is “the objective physical separation from other people (living alone),” whereas loneliness is “the subjective distressed feeling of being alone or separated.” Accordingly, a senior can feel lonely even if surrounded by family and friends, while another may spend a lot of time all alone, but not feel lonely.
Both loneliness and social isolation are risk factors for health conditions, and intervention to enhance socialization is a must. The good news is the fact that senior loved ones whose lives are more social reap a plethora of health benefits, including in the areas of:
- Cognition: The companionship of other people supplies the opportunity for a release of tension and enhanced mental health, which have been shown to favorably affect memory and helps prevent cognitive decline.
- Emotional Health: The potential risk of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem is lowered for those who are socially involved, providing a feeling of belonging and better management of mental health concerns.
- Physical Health: Exercise is important to improving physical health in aging parents, and those who sustain social bonds have a propensity to stay physically active and engaged.
In addition to that, social seniors have even been shown to have a longer lifespan than others who are far more isolated.
At Abby Senior Care, providers of quality elder care in Centennial and the surrounding areas, we are assisting the elderly to beat loneliness and isolation, by providing trained, experienced, friendly, and compassionate caregivers who offer much-needed companionship through:
- Conversations and reminiscing
- Exercise programs
- Arts/crafts or other enjoyable hobbies and interests
- Transportation to fun outings in the community
- Sharing mealtimes together
- And so much more
The elderly and social isolation do not have to go hand in hand. Help a senior you love discover a much more socially-enriched lifestyle, and remember, we provide in home elder care Centennial area seniors trust! Contact us at 303-699-8840 for a free in-home consultation to find out more about top-rated home and respite care in Centennial and the surrounding areas.