Humans are naturally social creatures who thrive when they live, work, and collaborate with others. However, one of the great tragedies of aging is that we often become increasingly isolated as we get older. Whether it’s through the loss of family and close friends, chronic disease, or living alone, isolation and loneliness become more than emotional problems. In fact, isolation brings serious health risks that rival smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Fortunately, seniors who are aware of the risk associated with isolation can take steps to combat them by pursuing opportunities for social interaction.
The Health Risks of Isolation
Isolation is a serious problem among seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.” To make matters worse, isolation comes with serious health implications, including:
- A 50% increased dementia risk.
- A 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
- Nearly quadrupled risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits for heart failure patients.
What these statistics make clear is that addressing loneliness and isolation makes seniors much healthier. So with that in mind, here are some ways seniors and their caregivers can improve social interaction.
Fives Ways to Fight Social Isolation
Fortunately, seniors don’t have to live shut away in their homes. Instead, there are plenty of opportunities for them to get out into the world and engage with their peers through social interaction. A great place to start is by leaning into the activities you already enjoy and searching for ways to share them with others. Here are a few examples:
Join a Book Club
Reading is a fantastic way for seniors to engage their imagination and challenge their minds as they age. Joining a book club gives seniors an opportunity to share the experience of reading with others while making new social connections. You can find reading groups through your local library or start one of your own with a few close friends.
Exercise with a Group
Regular exercise is a critical component for seniors’ health. However, prioritizing regular exercise isn’t always easy. Fortunately, exercising with a group is a great way to stay motivated and socially connected with your peers. Try joining a walking a group or see if your local mall offers access for early morning exercisers.
Volunteer for a Cause
Sometimes giving generously to other people is the best way to feel better about ourselves. If you’re an older person with time on their hands, volunteering for a cause could be the perfect solution for social isolation. Not only is it a great way to meet new people and work together towards a goal, but you’ll also be helping people along the way.
Take a Class
Keeping your mind engaged as you age is one of the most important ways fight off dementia. Taking an adult education class or auditing a university course will expose you to new ideas while putting you in a position to meet new people. Check your local community college for these resources.
Pursue a Craft
Indulging an artistic talent is a wonderful way to express your creativity. Plus, you can also find opportunities to share your talents with others through classes, art shows, and other expressive outlets. Whether it’s knitting, sewing, painting, pottery, or scrapbooking, there’s bound to be an activity you’ll love that also improves social interaction.
In-Home Caregivers Can Help
In-home caregivers can provide important support for seniors suffering from loneliness and social isolation. First and foremost, they offer seniors companionship. Sometimes simply having another person around can ease feelings of loneliness. Secondly, in-home caregivers can help homebound seniors access group activities by providing transportation and support. After all, if a senior can’t drive or access public transportation, it will be challenging to escape social isolation. Finally, in-home caregivers offer an important second set of eyes that help monitor a senior’s health. They can spot signs of depression and loneliness and take action to help before negative health outcomes emerge.
If you’d like to learn more about how in-home caregivers can help seniors stay engaged in the world, contact Generations Home Care today.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.