While loneliness is something that can affect individuals of every age, older adults are at a higher risk of becoming lonely. And, as a result, are at risk of developing other issues too. So, it’s important to be able to identify loneliness in the lives of your aging loved ones. This way, further consequences of loneliness may be avoided.
Reasons for Loneliness in Aging Adults
There are a number of reasons older individuals may experience an increase in loneliness. Some of these situations may include:
Retirement: While retirement is an obvious accomplishment, changing daily routines can lead to an increase of loneliness. After years of socializing with coworkers and performing daily duties at work, one may feel loneliness when this time of their life concludes.
Grief: Losing a loved one is tough for anyone. But, for a senior who loses their life partner, loneliness may be inevitable.
Illness or Injury: Getting sick or losing mobility due to injury can lead to an increase in loneliness. Both of these circumstances can keep an individuals from doing what they want or need, as well as socialize with others.
Lack of Family and Friends: When family moves away or a senior doesn’t have many friends, they may not socialize with others as much as they’d like. And, this can lead to loneliness.
Finances: When finances are tight, older individuals may not have the funds needed to attend social events. So, they’re left to stay alone at home which can cause loneliness in the lives of seniors.
Transportation: Whether an individual loses the ability to drive or lives in an area without public transportation, a lack of transportation means a lack of socializing.
Some Negative Consequences of Loneliness in Older Adults
When left unidentified or addressed, loneliness in older adults can lead to a number of unhealthy consequences. Some of these consequences can include:
Addiction/alcoholism: When loneliness hits, many individuals may reach to addictive substances in an attempt to self-medicate. But, with prolonged use, addiction is possible. And, with addiction comes health issues, financial issues, relationship problems and more.
Malnourishment: When older adults are lonely, they may not have much of an appetite. Or, they may lose the desire to prepare their own meals. But, not eating the right foods or not eating enough can lead to malnourishment.
Depression: Whether it’s developed as a result of the loss of a loved one or becomes more apparent during times of loneliness, depression is commonly experienced by seniors.
What can be Done About Senior Loneliness?
As a loved one of an aging individual who is experiencing isolation and loneliness, there are a few things you can do. Some of these things include:
Encourage Outings: If you can, encourage your aging loved one to get out of the house at least once daily. And, if you’re up to it, attend these outings with your loved one. Whether it’s a walk around the park or running errands, getting out of the house can greatly help to combat isolation.
Volunteer Opportunities: Encourage your aging loved one to volunteer at the local homeless shelter, church, or animal hospital. Volunteering is a great way to boost confidence and combat loneliness.
Keeping in Touch: Obviously, keeping in touch with an aging loved one can help them feel like they’re not alone. Also, if you haven’t already, consider making your aging loved one a Facebook account so they can keep in touch with you and others easily.
Consider In-Home Care: In-home caregivers may help to combat loneliness by offering transportation, companionship and simply a caring person to meet their needs.
Considering an In-Home Caregiver Service to Combat Loneliness in Seniors
Think that an in-home caregiver may be the best solution to help your aging loved one combat loneliness? Florida First Senior Home Care is a caregiver referral service that pairs experienced caregivers to families in need. If you’d like to learn more about our referral service, contact us today on our website!