According to the US Census Bureau, over 50 million people are age 65 or older. That’s a lot of seniors and even more potential senior isolation.
One of the biggest threats to America’s senior population today is isolation, although it remains among the most difficult senior health issue to recognize. The reason senior isolation is not easy to identify is that you’re less likely to have contact with an isolated senior—how can you recognize the symptoms of isolation in someone you do not have regular contact with?
According to the AARP Foundation, 17% of people 65 and older are isolated, affecting more than 8 million seniors. This means that long before the chill of winter waltzes in, many seniors are already struggling with isolation and its many effects.
Studies have proven the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Isolation can be felt physically, mentally and emotionally. In addition to the mental and emotional toll of isolation, the National Institute of Health discovered that social isolation can impact a senior’s physical health with:
- An increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity
- Abnormal activity in the endocrine system
- Reduced immune system function
How do seniors become isolated?
Here are the six most common circumstances that can lead to a senior becoming isolated from others. It’s easy to understand how they can slip into isolation without much notice.
- Living far away from their siblings, adult children and other family members, making it difficult to maintain consistent contact.
- Today’s seniors had fewer children than the generation before them, reducing or eliminating the possibility of living close to a grown child.
- Spouses and friends begin to pass away as an adult ages, shrinking their inner circle.
- Seniors often become less mobile with age. They may stop driving and may not be able to walk long distances.
- This century has witnessed a breakdown of family relationships, and Baby Boomers have been affected the most. With a divorce rate for adults age 50 and over that has doubled since the 1990s, many seniors are living alone, further removed from their family.
- Adults who never married has reached an all-time high, meaning more adults are entering their senior years alone.
We want to help minimize senior isolation! Won’t you join us?
Senior Cheer Patrol to the Rescue
Since senior living facilities, churches, senior centers, etc., are a terrific way for seniors to avert isolation by building strong social connections, SYNERGY HomeCare has dubbed January and February “Senior Cheer Patrol” months, designed to fill locations where seniors frequent with more cheer and excitement than seniors have felt in a long time. Our goal is to help minimize senior isolation by helping seniors meet more friends and
reconnect with old ones.
Senior Cheer Patrol is a group of SYNERGY HomeCare employees who swoon into the senior facility donning Senior Cheer and create an afternoon of fun, camaraderie and lively conversation for seniors. Crafts, games, refreshments and snacks—anything goes that helps seniors to gather, laugh and truly having a wonderful time. It’s like speed-friending! In fact, the seniors will probably ask when the next “Cheer Patrol” event takes place!
Check with your local SYNERGY HomeCare office to see if they are hosting a Senior Cheer Patrol event.