Social Isolation & Senior Citizens Revisited
The New Silent Killer?– You just had a brush with it.
I published Social Isolation – The New Silent Killer blog on February of 2018. We had no idea how relevant this would become two years later. We are all getting a feel for what a senior’s reality is when they isolate. Isolating by choice, isolating by circumstance. Many of their friends have passed away. Their adult children are busy with careers and families of their own. No one is coming to visit or the visits are far and few between. There is a lack of meaningful contact with others.
A 2019, ABC Morning News report of seniors age 65 and older found that 75% of seniors make mistakes with medications and 43% say they are lonely. Many of us are feeling this very same disconnect from the world outside. A type of loneliness as a result of a temporary government order of social distancing and self-isolation. We are not leaving our homes to go to work, dinner, movies or shopping. No one is coming to visit and in many cases are restricted to do so. We are trying to cope and stay connected by using social media, a luxury most seniors do not engage in or know how to use.
If you can step back for a moment you’ll see that this is often the life a senior is living. Isolated from the outside, lonely and often depressed. Please take a moment and read the Blog below from 2018. It resonates in an entirely different way today than it did two years ago.
A year of research studying the lifestyle of seniors has brought forth real evidence that, “where you live matters.” There are real benefits to “community living” for older adults. When a senior chooses to live in a retirement community a new world begins to emerge. There are countless benefits and positive effects from “community living.”
Immediately upon move in to a community there is a ready support group of peers many whom have recently traveled this road of emotional and difficult decision making. A decision to downsize, simply their life and move from what they once hoped to be their “forever home” to embark on a new beginning, a new dimension as they approaching the golden years. This new living option continues to promote the values of choice, control and dignity with a sense of togetherness embracing the many cultures of this group of elders. New friends are made, new adventures begin. Social interaction with other seniors encourages and stimulates residents to try things they may not otherwise try. To be involved in water aerobics, overnight trips, intellectual lectures and studies for example. There is a director on site offering activities galore to challenge the mind and/or create physical movement and exercise.
Life in a retirement community often leads to a much better quality of life in the latter years too. The staff strive to improve a healthier quality of life by promoting the development of safe, accessible and vibrant environments. A reduction of premature death has been purported when eliminating social isolation. When anyone begins to isolate, especially a senior citizen, the impact is scary. When a senior isolates depression in many instances begins to rear its ugly head. Depression may also be a cause of dementia. Dementia if gone untreated, can be a devastating and debilitating journey that does not need to happen if induced by depression. Dementia induced by depression is one of the few reversible types of dementia, if treatment is accepted and given. This ABC News story stated that “social isolation has the same effect as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Eliminating social isolation is a start to better health and a better quality of life.
Clearly there’s a cost to social isolation. An AARP Public Policy Institute study confirms that Medicare is spending $6.7 billion annually as a result of this public health issue. With so many options out there for community living, how can you find the community that is right for you or your loved one? That’s where Home 2 Home 4 Seniors can help. Seeking out the advice from an expert can help you avoid the costly mistakes of choosing the wrong community.
Home 2 Home 4 Seniors is a free consultation and resource to assist families in finding appropriate solutions for care options for an aging parent. Home 2 Home 4 Seniors will provide a family the opportunity to speak with a senior living advisor privately and confidentially. An Advisor that is empathetic and knowledgeable of what can be done to help “keep the parents safe and well cared for.” The Home 2 Home 4 Seniors service is free of charge. We welcome your call.