Loneliness can be challenging for anyone, especially during the impact of a global pandemic.
For older adults, social interaction can be the difference-maker when it comes to overall health. Staying social can help increase self-esteem and lower stress levels.
When mental and physical health is taken care of, life can be lived to the fullest.
Understanding Loneliness & What it Means
Loneliness is a state of mind or feeling that our close relationships don’t meet our needs. This can leave us feeling unwanted or isolated.
The feeling of loneliness is complex and unique to the individual. It can be potentially damaging to both mental and physical health. It’s important to check in with your loved ones to see how their mental health is doing.
Those who feel lonely will often desire social interaction, but their state of mind makes it difficult to create relationships.
Factors That Influence Loneliness
There is no single cause of loneliness. Instead, there can be several things that can contribute to this emotion.
Older adults can be at an increased risk for loneliness due to internal and external factors, including:
- Physical limitations of getting around
- Moving away from family and friends
- Losing a loved one
- Cold weather making it hard to go out and keep up with friends
- Set in their ways about trying new things or meeting new people
- Low self-esteem
It’s important to combat the feeling of loneliness in seniors to help create a fulfilling, happy, and healthy life.
Loneliness & Overall Health
Loneliness isn’t just a feeling; it’s linked to our overall mental and physical health. As humans, we are innately social beings. Studies show isolation can mean a higher risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Weakened immune system
- Cognitive decline
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to help avoid the effects of loneliness.
5 Ways to Combat Loneliness
Participating in Events & Activities
Encouraging your loved ones to participate in fulfilling activities can keep them involved in the community and interacting with friends.
Talk with your loved ones about what they enjoy doing and what events in their community can help fill that joy. Senior living offers various activities for all different lifestyles to promote health and wellness.
Learn Something New
Trying out a new activity or hobby can be a way to make new friends and feel a sense of purpose.
Learning something new exercises your brain to help improve cognitive function, memory, and problem-solving skills. It’s a satisfying achievement that can bring happiness to your loved ones life.
Plus, it’s fun!
Exercising is important to physical health, but it also contributes to mental health. Studies show participating in exercise reduces anxiety and stress, which improves self-esteem, cognitive function, and alleviates symptoms of social isolation.
Regular exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good because they interact with receptors in the brain and diminish pain perception. This causes a boost in energy and positivity.
Visit With Family
Family is the people who are there when we need it most. It’s arguably one of the strongest connections of love and loyalty, and a part of our identity.
Taking the time and prioritizing family visits can help combat loneliness in older adults. Calling, visiting, or a quick message can be all it takes to remind them they are loved and valued.
Consider Community Living
Community senior living is a place that fosters relationships. Older adults can connect with like-minded friends and build connections with their caregivers.
Senior living communities provide spaces to engage in conversation while dining, relaxing, or staying active with others, instead of remaining isolated in a private residence.
A variety of activities and amenities to suit all interests and lifestyles can be something to look forward to for your loved one each day.
Check in with your older loved one to see how they’re doing emotionally. If you notice any signs of loneliness, chat with them about ways to help diminish that feeling, so it doesn’t affect their well-being.
At Bellaire at Stone Port, you can check in with our staff to see how your loved one is doing or call them directly to catch up and let them know they are loved.