Isolation is something that can affect all people at different times in their lives, but more often found among seniors. There can be many various reasons for isolation among seniors, but there are also ways that we can help our elders to overcome the feelings of isolation or loneliness.
Reasons for Isolation
There can be many different reasons for Senior Isolation or loneliness. Listed are the more common reasons isolation occurs with seniors.
Retirement – When we retire people might miss the day-to-day contact they have with people. We don’t realize, but our colleagues in the workplace provide social interaction that is healthy for our social interactions.
Bereavement –Extreme loneliness could set in after the death of our spouse, or if our spouse requires an extended stay at the hospital due to related health conditions.
Ill Health –Seniors could become more isolated due to related health problems that make it harder to be mobile. The lack of mobility makes it harder to get around and be able to socialize.
No Family or Friends – Seniors may not have any family nearby to check in, and friends may have moved away.
Lack of Transportation – Seniors find it harder to drive or may no longer be able to drive due to aging or health issues. Limited transportation makes it very difficult to get out can very quickly cut off.
Finances – Seniors on a limited budget might not have the funds to leave the house to join in with social interactions as often as they would like.
Isolation is becoming an epidemic in many areas of the world.
There are many things we can do to help the elderly not be lonely, but we have to understand how to look for signs to help the elderly combat isolation or loneliness. Certain words could give us warnings that a senior is reaching out for help. If you hear an elderly relative saying that they feel “lonely” or if they mention that they wish they could see people more often or have someone to whom they can talk, these are strong words that loneliness is getting them down.
Behavioral changes in older adults can also be an indicator that a person is showing signs of loneliness. Changes in their behavior could be the reluctance to go anywhere or do anything or conversely a firm desire for activity or conversation. Other changes could be in their greetings. Examples could be longer hugs or even preferring a hug to a handshake. Many other behavioral changes could take place; we need to look for any red flags and then take action to help.
Isolation causes the elderly to reach out to strangers who come into their homes, such as service providers. Some of these new found friends could be scammers who are only too willing to prey on the vulnerabilities of the elderly. Extreme loneliness can cause a senior to crave interaction with anyone who will give the attention they are needing.
Seniors suffering from loneliness might tell you about an illness they are feeling, even if they show no physical symptoms. Some of these symptoms may come as a result of elderly isolation or loneliness. Depression, malnutrition or even alcoholism are possible consequences of elderly isolation.
Ways to Reduce Loneliness
There are many things we can do to reduce loneliness as we age. Listed are some ideas that can you can do to help avoid isolation.
Living in a Senior Community – Being in an environment that allows us to be around other people helps us to be social and active. Living in a senior community will enable us to take part in planned activities and will allow us to develop friendships with other residents along with other benefits of living in a senior community.
Volunteer –Giving a small bit of time each week to help those in need will not only reduce loneliness but also bring much happiness to seniors as well to you, as volunteering is one of the most satisfying and rewarding things a person can do.
Keep in touch – If you long to catch up with your family or an old friend, reach out to them. Even if they can meet you in person, talking over the phone or through email will significantly help to banish feelings of loneliness.
Take up a hobby – By immersing yourself in a hobby such as painting, learning a musical instrument or reading, you will have a greater focus to your life while also opening the door to join classes and meet like-minded people.
Be Active –If you are physically able to do so, try to go outside at least once a day. Even just going to the shops or nearby park, you might come across people who’d be willing to chat for a short while.
Adopt a pet– Pets such as dogs and cats provide wonderful companionship to their owners, especially for older people who otherwise live alone. As pets love unconditionally, you’ll almost certainly forge a fantastic relationship with them.