Helping Older Adults Overcome Social Isolation
With the holidays over and 2018 underway, you may be feeling relieved, freed from visiting relatives and endless socializing. Or you could be feeling isolated, as friends and family get back to their ordinary lives -- especially if you live alone. A little loneliness is normal, but too much can lead to depression and health problems. And if you are a caregiver, it's important to watch out for negative effects of social isolation in older adults, and know how to alleviate it.
Seniors have a higher chance of feeling lonely while isolated than young generations, owing to several factors. Most seniors have already retired from the workforce and may not have regular day-to-day interaction with others. Seniors may communicate differently as well -- not everyone is accustomed to texting on a smartphone or finds it easy. Even if they do have regular contact with their families, the difference in age and life circumstances may leave them with less to talk about.
Social isolation can lead to depression, which in turn can lead to physical health problems, including weight loss, simple sicknesses, apathy, insomnia, and personality changes.
As a caregiver, you can help reduce social isolation by encouraging and enabling seniors to meet with others, by picking up hobbies, volunteering, or joining other community ventures. Colleen O'Day has several other suggestions, as well as interesting statistics, at the Griswold Home Care blog -- head over to the original post here to check them out.