Feelings of isolation are common among seniors although many caregivers are surprised to learn that isolation can have serious health consequences. Unfortunately, a growing number of seniors are finding themselves alone as spouses and friends pass away, children leave home, and neighbors move. Here are 11 facts from Dayton Home Care Assistance about senior isolation that may surprise you.
1. Seniors who feel isolated are at an increased risk of cognitive decline.
Participating in regular activities outside of the home has been found to ward off age-related cognitive decline and some types of dementia.
2. Senior isolation increases the risk of death
According to one study, seniors who are isolated without regular social contact are at an increased risk of dying compared to their socially active counterparts.
3. Isolation increases the risk of elder abuse
Ten percent of people over 60 experience abuse at some point and social isolation is one of the greatest risk factors.
4. Isolation increases the chance of entering a nursing home
One study found that seniors who are lonely with little social contact are more likely to enter a nursing home within a year.
5. LGBT seniors are at a greater risk
LGBT seniors are more likely to live alone, which is one of the greatest factors in isolation. They are also less likely to have children and more likely to be estranged from family members.
6. Isolation is linked with many illnesses
Many long-term illnesses have been linked with social isolation, including depression, chronic lung disease, and arthritis.
7. Isolated seniors are more pessimistic
Seniors who feel isolated are more likely to predict they will have a lower quality of life in the next few years and more likely to be concerned about aging in their home rather than a nursing home.
8. A lack of transportation can cause isolation
Life expectancy exceeds the safe driving expectancy by 6 years for men and 10 years for women, according to the AARP. Many seniors do not have enough transportation support in their community, which can make it challenging to maintain independence and an active social life.
9. Loneliness is a risk factor for depression
Seniors who feel lonely are more likely to become depressed, which can have its own set of serious health consequences.
10. Caregivers are also at risk of social isolation
It’s not just seniors who experience the effects of isolation. People who provide full-time senior home care are also at risk of becoming isolated and lonely. More than half of caregivers say caring for a senior has led to less time for family and friends.
11. Senior isolation can be prevented
There are many steps you can do as a part-time caregiver to keep your loved one from feeling isolated. Ensure he or she has access to transportation as well as local support groups and senior centers. Staying in contact with family is also important, even if it’s done by phone or online.
If you’re unable to spend more time with a senior loved one, consider home care in Dayton from Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly and live-in care, as well as stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Dayton families can count on. Our caregivers can provide companionship, emotional support, and help with everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, and running errands. For more information on how our care services can help your loved one maintain a high-quality lifestyle, give us a call at (937) 353-1412.