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  • Combating Senior Loneliness


    Getting older is hard enough as it is. Our bodies begin to slow down, we’re managing sometimes multiple chronic conditions, and in many cases have to surrender our drivers’ license for our own safety. All of that can leave you feeling isolated, depressed, and terribly lonely. It can be excruciating to watch the life you built slip away. Having your once robust social calendar replaced by Doctors appointments and awaiting a daily meal delivery from one of many home meal programs.

    Even though it’s only an estimated 20% of seniors who do live alone, more than 47% report feeling lonely. In addition to these findings, a study from the AARP also found that many seniors today face social issues that only add to their feelings of isolation and loneliness. This study found that 45 percent of seniors age 65 and over are separated or widowed, 42 percent are disabled, and 46 percent of women age 65 and older live alone. Plus, these individuals are expected to live to at least 85 in today's world. That means they may have a solid 20 years of their lives to cope with this loneliness.

    The consequences of loneliness are real. Numerous studies demonstrate the negative physical affects from social isolation. Why is loneliness so harmful? Research has found that when feelings of loneliness set in, it can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, over eating, malnutrition, alcohol abuse, and other mental and social health issues. It can also have some serious physical effects. Loneliness can increase the chance of arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even glaucoma.

    Dementia is already a real and pressing threat in the senior community. However, a study from the University of Chicago has found that perceived loneliness is linked to quicker cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia.

    What can we do to help ease the burden for those who experience this devastating loneliness? There are more options now than ever before. Many communities have active and vibrant senior centers who host daily activities open to all. Transportation can often be accommodated by city or town programs.

    Technology is also combatting serious loneliness in many ways! Specially designed laptop/tablets like ‘GrandPad’ provide a simplifies interface and large display icons. Alexa and the Amazon Echo can make dialing a phone, turning on the radio, and setting reminders automated for people who have an active wifi connection, and they’re reasonably priced!

    Then we have high quality non-medical home health care like One Solution Home Care. It’s a misconception that a senior must have a medially managed condition to subscribe to a local caregiver service. Our team can provide transportation, meal preparation, laundry services and so much more. But the most valuable service we offer is the personalized and compassionate attention we show each of our clients. We treat your family like our family. It’s all part of doing the job we love. If you’re concerned a family member or loved one may be suffering from loneliness, contact us today.

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