Unfortunately, time and changes in our society have found families spread out across the globe. The previous generations that found siblings and parents living in the same neighborhood, if not the same house, are few and far between. Sunday family gatherings have been replaced by long distance calls and once-a-year visits. In this ever distancing environment, it’s important to remember your elderly parent that may be living alone and spending more time alone than with family and friends.
It’s been shown that seniors who are not socially active are at risk for several disorders including the following:
- Depression. Lack of physical contact is directly linked with higher levels of stress hormone and inflammation—markers associated with high blood pressure, pain, and weakened immune systems.
- Dementia. A study of older people conducted in Amsterdam concluded that those with feelings of loneliness were more likely to develop dementia. Social isolation was not the precipitating factor, the feeling of loneliness was.
- Insomnia. Going to bed with thoughts and concerns is a known prescription for insomnia. For those with no one to share those thoughts and feeling with, the risk rises substantially.
How to Help
- Visit. This may seem like an obvious solution, but it’s easy to get caught up in busy lives and forget that your loved one is alone a predominant amount of the time. Putting a calendar together and scheduling visits among family and friends ensures a steady influx of interaction. If someone is too far away, consider scheduling a call once a week. If you can get your loved set up with one of the many internet services that allow video chats—even better.
- Transportation. Set your loved one up with scheduled transportation, whether it is public services, volunteers, or in-home care providers. This ensures weekly outings which can do wonders to lift moods and provide a sense of community. The places to visit are many and include senior community centers, local events for seniors, and volunteer organizations. Good resources are your local library, newspaper, or an AARP chapter.
- In-Home Care Providers. If family or friends are spread far and wide, consider obtaining the services of an in-home care provider. These professionals not only provide support for the daily activities of living, they also supply what is increasingly considered a top-priority: companionship.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring in-home senior care in Spokane WA, please contact the caring staff at Love at Home Senior Care today: (509) 204-4088
1. Time; Social Isolation, Now Just Feeling Lonely, May Shorten Lives; Maia Szalavitz; 03/2013
2. Medscape; The Journal of Primary Prevention; A review of Social Isolation; Nicholas Nicholson; 02/2012
3. PubMed.gov; J Neural Neurosurg Psychiatry; Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia; 02/2014
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