Feelings of social isolation and loneliness can be a problem at any age, but those feelings can occur more often as people grow older.
The National Council on Aging estimates that one in six seniors face the risks of
feeling isolation and its repercussions, and that older woman
are at higher risk, representing over 60 percent of isolated older adults.
For older adults the onset of loneliness can happen gradually, sometimes preceded by specific life events like retirement, the loss of a loved one, a change in driving privileges, or family members moving away.
Elder loneliness can also be the result of caring for a spouse or life partner. Being a caregiver to a loved one is a tremendous responsibility-especially if that person has Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a physical or mental impairment.
A family caregiver may feel less able to set aside their caregiving duties to attend to social or personal relationships they previously enjoyed. This may trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation.
AARP: 7 things to know about social isolation
If you are the sole caretaker of an older adult and are seeking support and caring for yourself, scheduling frequent respite days can really help prevent caregiver burnout and feelings of loneliness. Partnering with a licensed caregiver can help restore your sense of connection.
While living alone doesn’t inevitably lead to social isolation, it can be a predisposing factor. The good news is that there are things older adults can do to help prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Three tips for preventing elder loneliness
- Hire a caretaker: Leaving one’s home to live in a nursing facility can have negative effects on mental and physical health. Compassionate licensed caretakers offer friendship and companionship to older adults. Caregivers can share stories, listen and reminisce, play games, take walks, help with hobbies and light housekeeping, and so much more.
- Having a purpose: Report to a part-time job or volunteering commitment. There are endless volunteering options in Whatcom County. Also, taking care of a pet, plants and/or grand children can help alleviate loneliness.
- Join local community groups: Art classes, dance classes, group exercise, and so forth are all opportunities for social interaction. If you live in North Whatcom County here are some options available at Lynden Senior Center.
When you are ready to learn more about partnering with a licensed caregiver for companionship, please contact Take My Hand At-Home Care at 360-543-7777. Our Lynden, WA caregivers are ready to help!