How to combat loneliness in seniors? It’s an unfortunate reality that many seniors find themselves living in isolation. Social isolation and loneliness could be due to any number of reasons such as; a number of close friends pass away or a beloved spouse throughout the later years, or an unfortunate and life-altering illness hits. It’s common for seniors to be cut off from family and friends for a long period of time. While not always intentionally, it’s simply disheartening in reality.
Senior loneliness is not limited to just a few number of seniors — it’s an alarming, widespread global issue. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 11 million seniors, or 28% of the people aged 65 and over, live alone. In the United Kingdom, the census is 1 in 3 experience senior loneliness and live in isolation.
While aging often comes with physical challenges, people often underestimate the severity of suffering with mental health issues. Social senior loneliness and isolation continue to further increase among seniors that lose strength and agility in their mobility or live far away from friends and family. The side-effect of isolation that severe that it cannot be misjudged with ageing.
At Loving Home Care Services, we strive to assist senior clients with people-centred care composing of friendly companionship and social interactions. We assist senior individuals so they may continue to live decorous and independent lives in the ease, safety and comfort of their own homes.
Mental & Physical Health Affected
Socialization and inclusion are two main fundamental needs of humans. Without it, one can suffer from severe depression, high levels of anxiety, and on-going physical and mental stress which can even lead to death.
Did You Know?
Loneliness and social isolation can be a significant health factor as smoking; loneliness has the same impact as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. According to JAMA (American Medical Association) Research, 43% of seniors report feelings of loneliness. Similarly, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2013, loneliness and social isolation both are associated with the higher risk of mortality.
According to a study published in the Journal of Primary Prevention, social isolation and loneliness have been the leading causes of numerous harmful health effects in seniors, including:
However, considering the proven risks and the increasing prevalence of loneliness, it’s now undoubtedly essential to address this issue and work on how we can promote social integration among our seniors and can reduce preventing social isolation in the elderly.
Ways To Prevent Senior Loneliness
Address Incontinence Issues
An elderly who experiences on-going incontinence issues may become hesitant to go outside and is more likely to stay at home, becoming isolated. However, it’s the responsibility of family members and caregivers to be sure the senior gets the necessary aide to deal with incontinence through proper supplies and oversight. By doing so, a senior will have an excellent opportunity to live up to their social potential to live a life without embarrassment and the fear of incontinence.
Encourage Dinner With Others
Encourage seniors to eat with others as this is inherently social and woven into our DNA. Encourage family members to enjoy a meal together and with others whenever possible whether it’s at a family function, or with friends at a local coffee shop. Sitting and conversing with others may help to promote overall health through mind, body and soul which is undoubtedly crucial for a senior.
Encourage A Positive Body Image
Compliments work great and helps boost one’s self-esteem, especially in a senior. So avoid discouraging a senior for any reason. Instead, assist them, compliment them, and give encouragements so they don’t fret over their ‘old’ appearance or the other natural effects of ageing. It will greatly help in being less self-conscious so as not to avoid social interactions with the young, and age. However, always be positive to encourage your loved ones. They need your love and support the most.
Give Love And Affection
There is no substitution to love. A hug can change everything. Research has shown that friendly touch from family, like hugging, kissing, and hand-holding may help lower stress and decrease symptoms of depression. Love and affection promote feelings of well-being for the mind, body and soul.
Encourage Social Interaction
Help to prevent social isolation by letting a loved one deal with loneliness, anxiety, or depression on their own. Encourage seniors towards social interaction and to take part in group outings. Assist by extending their friends group and by attending community events, group outings, walk-in-the-parks, or bingo night. The list is endless.
Make Transport Readily Available
Most seniors suffer from social isolation due to a lack of adequate transportation. Because most seniors choose to not drive by choice or are prohibited because of a lack of motor skills and/or vision impairment, anything that may help to get around will promote their social health and feeling of well being. Encourage the use of public transportation in a safe manner if they are still able. This will help boost self-confidence and help maintain social connections with others and their community.
Entrust With A Chore
A senior who lives alone could often be caught up in a tumultuous pattern of negative thinking, eventually leading to depression and isolation. However, it is beneficial to entrust with meaningful chores or responsibilities. Such as taking care of a small pet such as a dog or cat, or even as easy as taking care of fish in a small aquarium. It will encourage a sense of purpose, the desire to be needed and loved all of the time, and will assist in physical activity.
Introduce Adaptable Technology
Adaptive and smart technologies are helping tens of thousands of seniors for age-related shortcomings that may further hinder social interaction. Introduce adaptive technologies such as a smartphone or tablet, and the results will be great. There is no shortage of what is available in today’s fast-moving technological world, so feel free to research and explore, and pick out together what will work best for their needs.
Encourage Hearing and Vision Tests
Seniors who have undiagnosed hearing or vision problems may avoid social situations altogether because they find themselves lacking in communicating with others visually or by hearing, and may feel embarrassed or misunderstood. Always encourage a senior to have their hearing and vision checked regularly with the family doctor, and be mindful of any changes in their vision or hearing behaviour.
Keep An Eye On Pills
Always take care of prescribed medications and regularly check-in with the doctor’s order in terms of dosage, diet, and lifestyle. However, you may find yourself needing to manage the medication. So remind them when it is time to take their daily dose and be extremely aware of any drug interactions that may be fatal if overlooked.
Consider Home Care
Maybe it is time to consider home care in the case that you are finding it more difficult to give your loved one the proper care and time they deserve. Contact a professional health and home care provider such as Loving Home Care Services who will assist your loved one with day-to-day chores, nutrition and meal planning, daily hygiene, shopping, appointment visits, activities, and much more.
It’s All About Independence
It’s not just about home and health care services. It’s about the opportunity to provide a senior to live independently and comfortably just as they would at home. As Vancouver’s premier health and home and health care service provider, we provide seniors with the absolute best in home and health care services so one may continue to live a full, robust and meaningful life.
When you hear the words “home care”, the thought that quickly comes to mind is “your own surrounding where you can feel comfortable, just like at home.” That’s why we carefully hand select compassionate and caring Home Care Assistants and Certified Care-Aides to ensure you have someone there to be a part of the family.
Why Choose Loving Home Care Services
Did you know as of 2016 there are 460 home health providers and franchises operating in B.C. with just under 20 staff? Don't let yourself or a loved one make a choice that may do more harm than good. Instead, choose an A+ BBB Accredited, Industry-Recognized Care Provider with over 130 Trained and Certified, Highly Experienced Care Staff ready to meet your care needs today.
- We offer a full spectrum of home health care services ranging from part-time to full-time around-the-clock care in all three levels of care.
- We are available 24/7/365 with compassionate and trusted Home Care Assistants and Certified Care-Aides so you or your family member will never feel alone or be without care.
- We provide ongoing training and support for all staff and provide access to continuing education programs.
- All staff is bonded, insured and thoroughly pre-screened and we assign a wonderful match the first time 99% of the time.
- We carry a $5 million professional liability policy and a business liability policy covering you and your family.
- We carry affordable, competitive rates while compensating staff fairly and above industry average.
- We take care of WCB, CPP, E.I, and all applicable payroll taxes and submit electronically bi-weekly to the CRA.
- We focus on delivering relationship-based home care centred around the personalized needs of the client and family.
Learn more about Loving Home Care Services. Call us today at 604.926.8403
Take a look at our Level I, III and III Care Services to learn more.
We work extremely diligently with clients and families to put together the right care package of services required to assist individuals where they need it the most. We will work with you step-by-step, answering any questions or concerns you may have. We won't stop working for you until you are fully satisfied with our services.