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The Loneliness Solution

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 29 Dec 2023
The Loneliness Solution

As we age, our social circles tend to shrink due to various reasons such as retirement, relocation, or loss of a loved one. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can have a negative impact on our overall well-being. The truth is isolation, loneliness, and depression go hand in hand. This is also the number one reason seniors begin looking into senior living.

Isolation

Social isolation means someone is disconnected from others, which can lead to loneliness. Social isolation and loneliness can have serious effects on a persons physical, mental, and emotional health. The AARP Foundation lists these four signs that a person might be feeling isolated:

  • Deep boredom and a general lack of interest and withdrawal.
  • Losing interest in personal hygiene.
  • Poor eating and nutrition.
  • Significant disrepair, clutter, and hoarding in the home.

Depression

Depression affects not only our mental health in how we feel and think, but also affects your body physically. Some of these signs may be difficult to recognize in older adults because they may present differently than in younger people. A few of these physical symptoms include:

  • Insomnia, or the inability to stay asleep at night.
  • Weight fluctuations due to overeating or appetite loss.
  • Increased sensitivities to headaches and other pains.
  • Fatigue from decreased energy levels.
  • Constricted blood vessels, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, and heart attacks.
  • Weakened immune system for diseases like the common cold and more serious illnesses.
  • Cognitive changes such as trouble remembering or making decisions.

 

Importance of Community

Social connections provide a sense of belonging and purpose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social engagement for seniors is associated with reduced depression, improved cognitive health, longevity, better cardiovascular outcomes, and greater immunity to infectious disease. Here are some suggestions for keeping seniors socially connected:

  • Set up a regular coffee or tea date with a friend.
  • Invite someone to have a meal with you at home.
  • Take your dog for a walk in a park where there are people to chat with.
  • Participate in group activities such as volunteering, attending church, or joining a book club or sewing group.
  • Consider a senior living community.

If you notice a loved one showing signs of loneliness, you may be feeling concerned and worried. At Commonwealth Senior Living, we have over 20 years experience guiding families through their senior living journey. If you are interested in learning more about how we help seniors stay connected, contact the community nearest you.

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