5 Effects of Social Isolation on Senior Health

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Ways Social Isolation Effects Senior's Health in Portland, ME

Loneliness and social isolation are issues seniors often face as they grow older, putting their overall health in jeopardy. Family caregivers need to encourage their aging loved ones to remain socially active and look for ways to make social activities easier on them. Continue reading to learn about some of the ways social isolation impacts elderly health.

1. Increases the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a decrease in cognitive, emotional, and social functions. Isolation can have damaging effects on the aging process, as well as on a senior’s health in general. Just as the body needs physical exercise to remain in good shape, the brain needs social stimulation to function normally. Therefore, your loved one needs to make time to socialize, even if he or she only sets aside a few hours each week to interact with others.

Staying socially active allows seniors to reduce boredom and ward off other age-related issues. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust Portland senior home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.

2. Leads to Poor Bone Health

When seniors are socially active, they tend to have more energy to engage in physical activities. Engaging in physical activity is vital at all ages, and it’s one of the best ways for older adults to protect their bone health and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis. Attending community events, volunteering, joining the local gym, and taking up arts and crafts are all things that can lower the risk of social isolation and ultimately increase muscle strength, coordination, balance, and overall health.

3. Causes Depression

Aging adults don’t need to go on hikes every day or travel to new places each month, but they should get out in the community to socialize with other people. Getting out of the house for some socialization is a great way to increase the positive endorphins released throughout the body, which lowers stress and anxiety levels. Boredom and loneliness can cause seniors to feel sadness, anger, and other negative emotions that increase the risk of chronic stress, which could lead to depression. However, staying socially active can enhance a senior’s mood and lower the risk of depression.

Family caregivers should make sure their loved one doesn’t feel isolated at home. For families living in Portland, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

4. Raises the Risk of Heart Disease

Social isolation is associated with various health conditions, including increased nervous sympathetic system activity, lack of sleep, and inflammation. These things can cause cardiovascular aging, putting your loved one at a higher risk of a stroke or heart attack. Encourage your parent to stay socially active to lower his or her blood pressure, stress, and cholesterol levels, which increases circulation and prevents the heart from working overtime.

5. Decreases Longevity

Seniors who spend most their time alone aren’t putting their organs to good use, and they often stop engaging in activities that strengthen their senses. Isolation also prevents the brain from functioning normally. All of these things can increase the risk of illnesses and death in older adults. It’s important for your loved one to stay in contact with friends and family and join senior-friendly groups within the community that help him or her remain mentally, physically, and socially active. Staying active increases independence and leads to greater longevity.

Professional caregivers can promote mental and social wellbeing in seniors and assist with a variety of tasks that may become challenging to manage in the golden years. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional at-home care Portland seniors can trust and rely on. To hire a professionally trained caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (207) 835-4849.