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Social isolation or loneliness is a significant problem for seniors. It’s estimated that by the year 2030, 20% of the population is going to be made up of people who are aged 65 and older. 28% of that population will live alone. Isolation is not cheap either. Over $6.7 billion is spent each year on costs that can be attributed to social isolation. This article offers more information on how social isolation impacts seniors and ways it can be prevented or reduced.
Health Risks Associated with Loneliness
Loneliness isn’t simply a statistic. It comes with consequences for a senior’s health. Social isolation increases the risk of premature death more so than other causes like smoking or obesity. It also increases the risk of dementia, heart disease, and stroke. Clients who have heart failure are four times more likely to die if they are lonely, have an increased rate of hospitalization, and visit the emergency room more often.
Furthermore studies on loneliness suggest that older people who are immigrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may feel lonely more often than other populations due to factors like community differences, language barriers, discrimination, barriers to care, stigma, and family dynamics.
How to Prevent Isolation and Isolation
Keeping seniors active is one way to reduce isolation. Getting exercise three to four days a week is shown to reduce rates of loneliness by 6% to 9%. Having regular social contact with people through in-person visits, if safe, through texts, or video chat is another way to keep loneliness at bay.
Being able to access transportation is another way to increase engagement. This includes public transportation, rides from family members, and caregivers as well as ride-share. Having someone to do activities with like play games, read, socialize, and get active can also stave off loneliness.
At Polish Care Services we offer long-term care services and senior care that includes companion care. Our companion caregivers offer stimulation, socialization, transportation, and other aspects of care that are intended to keep loneliness at bay and keep seniors engaged. Reach out to our caring care team today!