In 2015, a Brigham Young University study was published in Perspectives on Psychological Science. The results of this study were surprising. People who are isolated have a higher risk of death than others their age who are socially active. Loneliness and isolation appear to impact the health. Healthy seniors are often very socially active and get out of their house regularly.
In the study, the results found that men and women who feel lonely have 26 percent higher risk of dying. Those who are isolated have a 29 percent greater risk. Seniors who live alone have the greatest risk of all at 32 percent.
What Leads to Isolation and Loneliness?
There are many factors that can cause a senior citizen to become isolated and/or lonely. One of the biggest factors is the death of a spouse or significant other. Grief takes its toll. If depression sets in, the person is likely to want to be alone to grieve. The grieving widow or widower spends more time alone. Depression can spiral and make it harder to want to get out of bed and into a social setting.
After retirement, it's easier to stay in touch with co-workers. A senior might move to a new state seeking a lower cost of living. Friends may follow their own children and grandchildren to a new state. As the number of friends in the area diminishes, it's harder to stay socially active.
Living away from public transportation services is another factor. If an elderly person is determined to no longer be a safe driver, it's harder to get a ride to friends' houses and senior centers. If mobility is impacted, making it harder to get outside and walk around, it also complications activities. This leads to isolation and loneliness.
Make Sure Isolation Cannot Happen
If your parent no longer drives and doesn't have friends within walking distance, it's important to provide ample opportunities to be social and get out of the house. Caregivers are great for transportation needs and companionship. A caregiver can drive your mom or dad to the area senior center for luncheons, group outings, or social clubs.
Even if the weather is bad and your parent needs to stay off the roads, caregivers can stop by and offer friendship. Caregivers can play games, help with housework, and cook meals. Call a home care agency to discuss other ways a caregiver can help ease loneliness and isolation.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Broadview, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 406-839-2390.