6 Ways Social Isolation Affect Aging Adults

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There are so many ways to reach out to a senior loved one. Emails, phone calls, and drop-in visits are all great ways to prevent seniors from feeling isolated. However, many seniors still spend the majority of their days alone, which can lead to these negative effects that impact their wellbeing.  

1. Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Loneliness is a risk factor for addiction. While your loved one may not have previously been the type to drink or abuse drugs, he or she may begin to do so out of the desire to numb feelings of sadness. For seniors who are truly isolated, it may be a long time before anyone notices they’re misusing drugs or alcohol. Make sure your loved one has positive people to spend time with, and keep an eye out for signs of addiction, such as going through large amounts of alcohol or running out of prescription pills early. 

2. Malnutrition

Seniors who live alone have no one to share their meals with. Without the motivation to sit down and eat, they may skip meals or eat unhealthy foods. Keep your loved one from snacking on junk food in front of the television by having a caregiver stop by for meals. Your loved one may be more likely to eat well when enjoying a nice conversation, and professional caregivers know how to create nutritionally balanced meals. 

If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional home care, Fort Lauderdale Assisting Hands Home Care should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults manage their health and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years.

3. Faster Cognitive Decline

Conversations with other people provide opportunities for seniors to learn new information and strengthen their memory recall abilities. Going days without speaking causes those neural connections that are important for cognitive functioning to die off. Identify several people your loved one can talk to each week, and make sure he or she knows how to reach out for those important chats.  

4. Increased Physical Health Issues

Many seniors need help with things that impact their physical health. For instance, your loved one is more likely to go for a walk if he or she has someone there to prevent falls. Seniors may also skip medical appointments if no one is available to help with transportation. Arrange for assistance with your loved one’s daily health regimen so he or she continues to thrive.  

Homecare professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

5. Depression and Anxiety

Everyone needs someone to lean on during times of emotional distress. The senior years are fraught with stressful moments. Whether your loved one is facing the results of a health test or mourning a recent loss, he or she needs someone to talk to. Trying to manage these types of stress alone could lead to depression and anxiety. Fortunately, just being able to talk to a family member or friend substantially reduces the risk of emotional health disorders. Social activity is only one of many components that contribute to robust mental and physical health in seniors. 

6. Greater Risk of Elder Abuse

Being socially isolated also increases the risk of being scammed. Elder abuse is a serious issue for seniors, and your loved one is at risk of falling for scammers or being financially abused by people he or she knows. Always make sure trustworthy people are around to keep watch over your loved one to ensure no one takes advantage of his or her kind and loving personality. 

Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading Fort Lauderdale home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. Reach out to us today to find out how we can boost your loved one’s quality of life.