For some elderly adults, it gets more difficult to stay socially involved with family, friends and their community. It’s easy to see why their social interactions decrease with age. Retirement, illness, lack of transportation and the loss of a spouse and friends can all have an impact on how social seniors are. July 11th is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day, when communities are encouraged to do something special for vulnerable citizens who might be isolated and lonely, like senior citizens.
Loneliness Can Negatively Impact Health.
It’s hard to imagine that a feeling can have a big impact on physical and mental health, but studies show that chronic loneliness really can. When elderly adults are socially isolated, it can trigger a host of changes to the body. Here are just a few of the most serious health consequences that aging adults face with too much isolation:
- It contributes to mood swings, irritability and pessimism.
- It can speed up the onset of dementia and other cognitive issues.
- It weakens the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to disease.
- It is linked to chronic health issues like high blood pressure and long-term illness.
- It is a big contributor to depression and anxiety.
- It puts strain on the heart, increasing the chances of heart disease.
- It has been linked to earlier mortality.
It’s up to family caregivers to identify whether their aging relative is indeed lonely and then take steps to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Preventing Chronic Loneliness in Seniors.
Supporters of National Cheer Up the Lonely Day recommend reaching out to someone in the community who may be lonely. They suggest delivering flowers or treats, stopping by for a visit, sending a card, or doing small acts of service. Many community organizations have embraced the day and make a special effort to reach out to isolated individuals in their area. But what can family caregivers do for their own elderly relatives to have a year-round impact?
One of the best things that family caregivers can do is to hire an elder care provider. With a professional company, seniors welcome a trained and experienced assistant into their home to help and provide companionship. Elder care providers can assist with laundry, housekeeping, meal prep, and pet care. They can also do the grocery shopping and drive the elderly person to and from social events. The best part is that family caregivers can work out a schedule for the elder care provider to visit so the aging adult has frequent interactions.
If family caregivers are concerned about an aging relative being isolated, it’s worth investigating elderly care services. Frequent isolation and chronic loneliness are clear signs that an elderly relative doesn’t have the physical and mental support they require to stay safe, healthy, and happy. National Cheer Up the Lonely Day is a good start, but family caregivers need to implement a long-term plan to keep their aging relatives happy.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Berkeley, CA, contact the caring staff at Provident Home Care. Call today (877) 572-3411.
Robin Conley RN., Owner and CEO of Provident Care Home Care Providing HOME CARE- ASSISTED LIVING PLACEMENT ASSISTANCE
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