How To Help Our Elderly Parents Battle Loneliness

Facts about seniors and loneliness

By: Jefferey Morgan

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In spite of all our communication technology, with cell phones, e-mail and video chats, researchers have found that people today are more lonely than they have ever been. One group which is particularly at risk for loneliness is the elderly. Seniors who live alone may feel isolated so many reasons. Their kids have forgot to visit, they can’t get out of the house because of various illnesses, and some may even have difficulties understanding the whole aging process; all this can lead to depression. It’s not just people living alone, but the whole idea of getting old and not being able to do all the things you once enjoyed.

A research study done by the University of California San Francisco found that 43 percent of seniors say they feel lonely on a regular basis. 18 percent of seniors live by themselves, so the majority of these lonely people are living with a spouse or other family member. Sharing a home with someone does not prevent loneliness.

Loneliness can be self-perpetuating
When an older adult feels lonely, they are more likely to behave in ways that cause other people to avoid being around them. A study done by the University of Chicago found that these lonely individuals often tend to push others away, make little effort to engage with people – and isolate themselves even further.

Lonely people decline and die sooner
Seniors who are lonely tend to decline faster, both mentally and physically, than those who are more social. Lonely people have a 59 percent higher risk of decline. They also have a 45 percent greater risk for death.

Rather than feel depressed on a daily basis and have regrets, seniors should engage in different social activities to make them feel better. A book club, playing cards, or meeting with friends are all excellent ways of forgetting about loneliness.

Nursing homes can be lonely places
Even if they are surrounded by people in an assisted living facility or nursing home, seniors can feel disoriented, out of touch, and alone, which is why they may need neurological care. If they are relying on home health care services, there is generally no real connection between the caregiver and the patient. The elderly end up feeling like they have been shunted to the side, with nobody left who truly cares about them.

How you can help a lonely loved one? At some point in life, we will be compelled to become caregiver for our parents. It shouldn’t be seen as the most terrifying and time-consuming job in the world – because at the end of the day, we owe so much to our loved ones.

Read some tips to help you reduce your elderly parents loneliness:



Submitted By: Holly B.
---- Las Cruces, NM



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