Lonely Elders at Higher Risk

Lonely elder

Lonely seniors, real or perceived can experience more health issues (physical and psychologoical) and become isolated. according to research.  Younger adults and Boomers are more likely to be working, commuting and using computers for Social Media. They have more contact with others than many Older Adults have. According to a study by Brigham Young University, loneliness kills.  Feeling lonely can certainly increase feelings of depression and anxiety which have adverse effects on our overall health.

Certainly living alone does not mean a person feels lonely. However, living alone is a risk factor. It is the lack of being socially connected and in fact being socially isolated which impacts our health and needs to be remedied.

Many Opportunities for Older Adults to Connect

Here in South Florida, and especially in Palm Beach and Broward counties, there are many opportunities for seniors and retirees to stay connected. If your loved one, elderly parent or you feel isolated and alone, some actions to mitigate loneliness are:

Hiring a companion

Using Technology such as Social Media and Skype – and the telephone

Getting telephone reassurance calls each morning

Arranging for a friendly visitor

Consider getting a pet

Seeking out community based senior programs – at the library, Senior Centers, Temples & Churches, the Clubhouse – there are so many places to take courses, see films, attend a lecture or meet for coffee and cards

Going to the Mall and watching life around you – or other public places

Explore moving into a Congregate Living property

Looking up old friends or reconnecting with family — grandchildren, siblings.

Engage in Volunteer work

It may be difficult to take action but once started, your social circles will grow.  For someone who has been alone and isolated for a while, it will be more challenging to get them involved. You may need to initiate the plan, and go with them to a Senior Center or other program.  Friends and family often make life worth living. As people get older, they lose more people and may have less of an opportunity to make new friends. However it is crucial to begin new relationships, acquaintances and have people in your life. It improves mood, wellbeing, and strengthens our immune system.

People are social beings – Help Seniors to maintain social relationships.