“No man is an island” is a famous saying for the truth it holds: a person cannot survive long alone. Apart from possibly needing assistance at some point, people need companionship. And while you typically accumulate friends and have extended family as you grow up and go through life, the number tends to dwindle when you reach a certain age.
Seniors and Loneliness
The number of friends and family you have and interact with regularly when you’re in your 20s or 30s isn’t the same as when you’re pushing 70. Social isolation or the lack of companionship then leads to loneliness, which affects nearly half of U.S. adults.
The effects of social isolation and loneliness are even more pronounced among seniors. Loneliness among older adults, for example, has been linked to different issues including depression, anxiety, and dementia.
The risks increase in seniors for a variety of reasons. For one, they are likely to have mobility problems, so they cannot simply travel or move around and socialize whenever they please. Family members and close friends may have already passed away, leaving the elderly without close companions.
That is why retirement communities are popular in places like Ogden. In these facilities, the health and wellbeing of older people are closely supervised; moreover, older adults in these communities are in do not lack for company and interaction with others.
With this in mind, here are a few ways you can help people combat social isolation in their old age:
1. Promote exercise
Exercise helps address one of the major issues elderly people deal with, which is mobility. Regular exercise helps improve strength and flexibility, increases bone density, and reduces joint stiffness. Exercise routines do not even have to be rigorous. A simple walk around the garden, daily, will be beneficial. This results in more mobility, which means more independence. Apart from that, exercise is a great reason for a senior to go outdoors, weather permitting, and enjoy some sunshine with other people.
2. Create dining plans
Eating can be a social event. At home, dinnertime is a good way to catch up with family members. While the elderly in a nursing home may no longer be able to d that as often, they can share a meal with their fellow seniors. Meal or snack times provide opportunities for conversing and socializing, effectively overcoming feelings of isolation.
3. Encourage community involvement
When people of older age have a purpose, they become more active and less withdrawn. That is why it’s a good practice for assisted living facilities to encourage their residents to participate in community activities. They can go to the farmers’ market, help distribute food at the local food shelter, or attend a screening of classic films at the local theater. These activities connect them with the community and provide plenty of opportunities to meet and socialize with other people.
Social isolation and loneliness worsen as people grow older for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason, the consequences can be harmful to the elderly. By recognizing signs of loneliness among them and following some of the suggestions above, you can help people of older age avoid loneliness and combat its negative effects.