Senior isolation is an ever-increasing and extremely serious epidemic in the United States. Approximately 33% of all aging parents live alone, and for various reasons (limited mobility, chronic health problems, and loss of family and friends, just to name a few) socialization becomes progressively difficult to maintain.
The reality is, isolation in older adults has been shown to be as hazardous to their health as smoking 15 cigarettes daily, with an elevated risk for heart-related illnesses, stroke, and even premature death, as indicated by a report released by the National Institute for Health Care Management.
It is also essential to be familiar with the key differences between isolation and loneliness. According to the late John T. Cacioppo, Ph.D., former director for the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, social isolation is “the objective physical separation from other people (living alone),” whereas loneliness is “the subjective distressed feeling of being alone or separated.” This means that one senior can feel lonely even when in the midst of loved ones and close friends, while another may spend a lot of time alone, but not feel lonely.
Both loneliness and social isolation are risk factors for health concerns, and improving socialization is essential. The good news is that older adults whose lives are more social reap a variety of overall health benefits, including in the areas of:
- Cognition: The companionship of others provides the opportunity for a release of stress and improved mental health, which were shown to positively affect memory and help prevent cognitive decline.
- Emotional Health: The danger of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem is minimized for people who are socially involved, supplying a feeling of belonging and better management of mental health concerns.
- Physical Health: Being active is integral to enhancing physical health in the elderly, and those who sustain social bonds are more inclined to stay physically active and engaged.
Not only that, but social seniors have even been shown to possess a longer lifespan as opposed to the isolated and lonely elderly.
If you’re looking for home care assistance in Kansas City, consider Hearts at Home In-Home Care. We are helping senior loved ones throughout Kansas City beat loneliness and isolation by providing professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and compassionate caregivers who offer much-needed companionship through:
- Conversations and reminiscing
- Exercise programs
- Arts/crafts along with other enjoyable hobbies and interests
- Transportation to fun outings in the neighborhood
- Sharing mealtimes together
- And much more
Help a senior you love experience a more socially-enriched lifestyle! Call us at 913-440-4209 for a complimentary in-home consultation and for more information about our top-rated in-home care in Kansas City and the surrounding communities.