In our younger years we’re constantly moving from one task to the next, but as we age we typically start to slow down. For aging seniors, many remain homebound for such reasons as fear, physical limitations or exhaustion. However, all of this alone time can result in isolation and loneliness, the emotional affects of which could also lead to negative health symptoms.
How does loneliness affect seniors’ health?
In 2012, a study was conducted that linked senior (older than 60 years) loneliness to functional decline and predictive death. Not only was it physical loneliness (living in a home by yourself), but also mental loneliness (living amongst others but not sharing time with them) that caused debilitating health circumstances.
In a similar study by Harvard Women’s Health Watch in 2010, the researchers found that those without social bonds are 50 percent more likely to die prematurely. Perhaps even more surprisingly, the mortality risk of a lonely individual is the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Preventing loneliness by keeping seniors company
Loneliness among seniors is more common than many people think. The 2012 study also showed that 43 percent of senior citizens over the age of 60 admitted to feeling lonely. How can we help them? One way is to increase social activity.
Just like isolation is a detriment to health, social interaction can benefit mental and physical health. Companionship can also boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, enhance digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and also improve self-esteem.
There are lots of community resources with social activities available for lonely seniors such as Meetup groups and community centers. However, if your loved one has health limitations that would keep them from attending such events, consider hiring a companion caregiver.
At 24/7 Nursing Care, our elder care and homebound caregivers are not just available for companionship purposes, but can also help with such activities as dressing, bathing, eating, and more. Each of our caregivers are licensed or certified by the State of Florida and have a level 2 background screening on file with the state. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Keeping Lonely Seniors Company Can Help Keep Them Healthy. (2017, January 05). Retrieved February 08, 2017, from http://khn.org/news/keeping-lonely-seniors-company-can-help-keep-them-healthy/
Written by Los Altos Town Crier Staff – Town Crier Report. (n.d.). The Newspaper Sections Town Crier Complete Edition: the PDF Comment Magazine News Schools Community Sports Business & Real Estate Spiritual Life Stepping Out Town Crier Photos Election 2016 Spotlight: Los Altos News Advertisement The Town Crier publishes six different glossy magazines throughout the year You can view the latest magazine as a PDF here or explore our archive of past issues. To advertise, contact our sales department by calling (650) 948-9000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To offer submissions to editorial, contact editor Bruce Barton at email@example.com. Retrieved February 08, 2017, from https://www.losaltosonline.com/special-sections2/sections/senior-lifestyles/47471-
Loneliness in older persons: a predictor of functional decline and death. (2002, July 23). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22710744