Feelings of loneliness and isolation can greatly affect the seniors’ health. It’s a silent killer. Understanding the consequences of isolation and loneliness can help you know why it’s important to help seniors out of the darkness.
Senior Isolation Prevalence
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 11 million seniors lived alone in 2010. Seniors who live by themselves are susceptible to loneliness and isolation, especially when they do not have family nearby. Actually, an AARP report says that there are fewer seniors with family members available to help them.
Just because seniors live alone and don’t have family available doesn’t automatically lead to loneliness and isolation. It has to do with socialization. Many seniors do not take advantage of senior activities in their community. They don’t feel comfortable or don’t believe it will help them. This is what contributes to the desperate feelings of loneliness, and then leads them to isolation.
It’s important that seniors receive help when do not want to engage in social events in their area. Personal consulting can be a great resource for them to pull them out of the consequences of isolation. What are the consequences of isolation? Continue reading to learn more.
Increased Risk of Mortality
The National Academy of Sciences reports that loneliness can increase the risk of mortality in seniors. With fewer people around, there is a higher chance of depression. Depression can lead to seniors not caring for themselves as well as they should, such as going to the doctor for checkups and follow ups.
Affects Mental and Physical Health
Seniors who feel lonely often have poor mental health. Those with poor mental health often have physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and other problems. These ailments can cause more severe medical issues, such as high blood pressure.
Increased Risk of Dementia
Cognitive decline and decreased cognitive performance is a consequence of loneliness, according to neuroscientist Dr. John Cacioppo. It’s also part of the use it or lose it phenomenon. When seniors don’t use their mind, they start to lose it. This is what can lead to dementia symptoms that can become progressively worse, especially when seniors continue to isolate themselves.
Leads to Unhealthy Behaviors
Loneliness and isolation can lead seniors to engaging in unhealthy behaviors. For example, they may not exercise, eat an unhealthy diet, or take up habits such as smoking. These unhealthy behaviors can lead to physical conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.
As you can see, lonely seniors who isolate themselves are at risk for serious medical and mental problems. While it can be difficult to get seniors to leave their home and socialize, it’s easy to get them to speak on the phone with someone who understand what they are suffering with right now. Sometimes, all it takes to decrease feelings of loneliness and bring them out of isolation is speaking to someone who truly cares about them. Consider setting up personal consulting for your senior. Kendall Van Blarcom has a patient ear and has experience working with seniors in isolation. He can help your senior feel better about life, and improve quality of life. Contact him now.