Preventing social isolation in the elderly is an ever-increasing and extremely important endeavor. Up to 33% of all the elderly live alone, and for many different reasons (limited mobility, chronic health conditions, and loss of family and friends, just to name a few) socialization is increasingly difficult to maintain.
In fact, the results of isolation in senior loved ones has been demonstrated to be as harmful to their health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily, with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even premature death, as outlined by research carried out by the National Institute for Health Care Management.
It’s also important to understand the key differences when considering isolation and loneliness. According to the late John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., former director for the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, social isolation is “the objective physical separation from other people (living alone),” whereas loneliness is “the subjective distressed feeling of being alone or separated.” This is why a senior can feel lonely even if surrounded by relatives, whereas another may spend a lot of the time alone and yet not feel lonely.
Both loneliness and social isolation are risk factors for health issues, and boosting socialization is essential. The good news is that the elderly whose lives tend to be more social reap a plethora of health benefits, particularly in the aspects of:
- Cognition: The companionship of other individuals provides the means for release of stress and better mental health, which have been proven to positively impact memory and help prevent cognitive decline.
- Emotional Health: The danger of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem is decreased for those who are socially engaged, offering a feeling of belonging and better management of mental health concerns.
- Physical Health: Being active is essential to enhancing physical health in older adults, and those who sustain social bonds have a propensity to stay physically active and engaged.
Not just that, but social seniors have even been shown to have a prolonged lifespan compared to those who tend to be more isolated.
At Home With You Senior Care, we are helping older adults throughout Baltimore to conquer loneliness and isolation by providing highly-qualified, experienced, friendly, and compassionate caregivers who offer much-needed companionship through:
- Conversations and reminiscing
- Exercise programs
- Arts/crafts and other enjoyable hobbies and interests
- Sharing mealtimes together
- And so much more
Help an older adult you love experience an even more socially-enriched lifestyle! Reach out to us at 410-756-0959 for a free in-home consultation and to learn more about our top-rated services in elder care in Columbia, MD and the surrounding communities.