May 12, 2017 by Kristina Butler
According to the AARP, isolation impacts nearly 10 million American seniors. The long-term effects of this isolation on the body and mind are serious enough to be "equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day". If fact, when isolation leads to feelings of loneliness, it can lead to high blood pressure, depression, and cognitive decline. A study by the University of California San Francisco found that seniors "who reported loneliness had a 45 percent increase in their risk for death".
There are many reasons a senior may become isolated. Combatting isolation typically starts with identifying the root cause of the problem. Let's look at three of the most common causes of senior isolation and how home health care providers can help them overcome it.
Many seniors lose spouses, family members and loved ones to transition and death. The resulting loss does not just lead to an empty home but to emotional challenges as well. For many seniors, a spouse or family member was more than just a companion and friend, they were also a source of support. In many elder relationships, family duties are not shared, so when one spouse passes, the other is left with a hole in their daily routine. These problems are compounded if the deceased spouse or family member was responsible for helping with daily living tasks.
Seniors often face an increased number of health challenges as they age, and many of these health issues can lead to physical or social isolation. From a loss of mobility to cognitive impairment, seniors may no longer feel like leaving or be able to leave their homes.
Some health challenges may lead to a loss of driving privileges. Others may make it difficult to use public transportation. Sometimes, transportation challenges can include not being able to walk up or down the stairs to and from an apartment. Not being able to get around like they used to is a major cause of physical isolation.
A home health care provider may not have a magic button, but they do have many other gifts. For example, the gift of companionship goes a long way in helping seniors overcome social isolation attributed to loss. Comfort Keepers caregivers take the time to get to know seniors and address their emotional, social, and intellectual needs during the caregiving process. Daily living tasks are still addressed, but by engaging the senior in meaningful dialogue and developing a relationship with them, the risks of social isolation can be mitigated.
In addition to senior care, Comfort Keepers of Dayton, OH also provides transportation services. From shopping to exercise and medical appointment to social outings, home health care providers can do more than just address a senior's health issues. In fact, research suggests that getting a senior up and active is the best medicine for a number of health issues.
In short, there are numerous reasons a senior may become physically or socially isolated, but home health care providers can help seniors overcome these challenges.
Contact us or call (877) 205-8417 to schedule a free in-home consultation today.
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