Impact of Loneliness on Older Adults

The surest sign of old age is loneliness – Amos Bronson Alcott

Humans are sociable creatures by nature. A person survives and grows more if he can connect to others. However, with time when people get older, they can face loneliness. This social loneliness causes so many health issues like depression, heart diseases, and many others.

People might become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Growing older or weaker
  • No longer being the center of their family
  • Quitting the workplace
  • Spouses and friends dying
  • Disability or disease

Whatever the reason, it’s all too easy to feel isolated and vulnerable. And it has a major and visible impact on a person’s physical and mental health.

Someone who is lonely is likely to find it difficult to reach out. Loneliness carries a stigma, and because of their pride, older people are hesitant to ask for support.

It’s vital to realize that loneliness can afflict people of all ages.

If due for any reason, you’re unable to give time and company to older adults, you can avail of in-home caregiving in Ohio. The workers take care of older adults and provide them a good company.

Statistics on Senior Isolation and Loneliness

According to a Census, almost 28% of Americans live alone. However, living alone is not the only factor of loneliness, but still, it’s undeniable. There could be many causes of living alone. Some people are introverts even at a young age. They don’t make many friends. This has a disadvantage that when they reach an older age, they are left alone with less or no activities. 

According to the AARP, families having fewer children are more likely to face loneliness in the future. This is because in a small family there are fewer people to give company or to take care of the older.

Due to this increased number of statistics, caregivers in Ohio are now famous for their services. They take care of older adults as well as keep them engaged by asking them to do various activities.

Loneliness on Older Adults 

It is said that:

“loneliness acts as the fertilizer for other diseases, the biology of loneliness can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries, help cancer cells grow and spread, and promote inflammation in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Loneliness promotes several types of wear and tears on the body.”

1.     Loneliness Has Health Consequences

Although it’s difficult to quantify social isolation and loneliness. Still, there’s solid evidence that many persons in their 50s and beyond are lonely in ways that affect their health. According to recent research:

  • Social isolation increases a person’s risk of dying prematurely from any cause, a risk that may be comparable to that of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
  • Poor social ties (defined by social isolation or loneliness) were linked to a 32% higher risk of heart disease and as well as stroke.
  • Loneliness is also a major cause of sadness, suicide, and anxiety.

2.     Increased Mortality Risk

A higher chance of mortality is another detrimental health effect of loneliness among seniors. Loneliness leads to a higher risk of mortality among persons aged 52 and older.  According to one theory, this outcome is related to seniors who live alone or have few social contacts. They are less likely to seek medical help if acute symptoms arise due to a lack of urgency.

3.     Increased Chances of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Loneliness has various harmful implications on mental health in form of diverse mental disorders. Cognitive decline and the advent of various forms of dementia are the most visible impacts on seniors. 

4.     High Blood Pressure and Long-Term Illness are More Likely to Occur

While loneliness is a mental illness, its impacts on physical health are visible too. Several studies have found a link between loneliness and deterioration of physical health in the elderly.  

In addition, during four years, a study published in Psychology and Aging found a direct link between loneliness in older persons and rise in systolic blood pressure. Blood pressure levels rose regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or other possible contributing factors.

5.     Physical and Mental Health is Deteriorating.

Simply put, loneliness has a direct link to both physical and emotional health and it’s not a positive one. According to recent research, the rate of health issues in lonely seniors is higher than seniors who have good company. These researches and studies clearly show that loneliness is hazardous to one’s health in a variety of ways.

6.     Increased Chances of Depression

Loneliness is a leading cause of depression. When you have nothing to do then it’s possible to have negative thoughts like worthlessness and suicidal ideation.  Loneliness’ impact on mood is perhaps one of the most obvious impacts of loneliness.

Loneliness and depressive symptoms are purely linked. Mental health is seriously affected by loneliness and eventually leads to many health hazards and other psychological issues.

How to Spot a Lonely Person: Symptoms

In the maintenance of the health being of any senior group, it’s necessary to address and identify the loneliness first. If the senior appears to be struggling with loneliness try to look for the following symptoms:

  • Lack of energy and low self-worth
  • Sadness and feelings of sorrow
  • No interest in hobbies, friendship network and daily activities
  • Unexplained pain and body aches
  • Neglecting personal hygiene

Tips for Reducing Senior Loneliness and Isolation

While loneliness can be harmful to one’s health, it can be overcome through several activities and treatments. Making a change requires a conscious effort. A small change in routine can make the older happier and healthier.

 For many elders, simply having more people around them is enough to make them feel less lonely. There are so many activities and simple ways to overcome loneliness. You just need to:

  • scheduling regular outings and visits with friends and family
  • participating in senior community activities
  • volunteering
  • relocating to an independent or assisted living complex.

Another good activity that can help seniors feel less lonely is exercise. In short, the main focus is to keep the seniors busy.

Caregivers in Ohio provide a variety of programs and events to assist seniors in becoming more involved in their communities and leading happy and successful social lives.

Final Words – The Link Between Loneliness And Disease Isn’t New

Loneliness leads to inflammation and neurological abnormalities according to research. Lonely persons, for example, are more likely to develop dementia and die young. In research given at the American Psychological Association meeting, it was said that “loneliness is a bigger health concern than being overweight.”

As a result, it’s critical to hire professional caregivers. Here at Amazing Grace Homecare, multiple services and events are offered to help seniors get involved and feel happy and fulfill their social lives. Here they live with the comfort of home, after all, Home is the Best Medicine!

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