Overcoming Loneliness in Seniors
Human beings are social by nature. We don’t just want social interactions; we need them. When we feel disconnected from our loved ones and our community, it can profoundly affect our overall sense of well-being.
Older people are unfortunately at heightened risk of social isolation, with one National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report stating that up to a quarter of older Americans are socially isolated, making it a severe public health concern.
What contributes to this epidemic of senior loneliness?
Risk Factors for Loneliness in Older People
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults commonly experience loneliness for a variety of factors, including:
- Recently, forced social isolation due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
- Limited physical mobility or chronic illnesses can make it challenging to seek in-person interactions.
- Experiencing other physical health problems, such as untreated hearing loss, can dampen or prohibit social interactions.
- Other undiagnosed health care concerns, such as depression and dementia, can make the older adult more likely to self-isolate, exacerbating feelings of loneliness.
- Being alone.
- Feeling the loss of loved ones.
The Dangers of Loneliness
Social contact significantly impacts the quality of life. The dangers of having limited or non-existent social support, according to the National Institute on Aging, include:
- Increased risk of new or worsening mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
- Likelihood of new or worsening health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.
- Greater likelihood of severe cognitive decline and a higher risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Prolonged loneliness poses severe physical and mental health risks, so dealing with loneliness in seniors is our primary concern at St. Andrew’s.
Fostering Social Connections at St. Andrew’s
Loneliness and social isolation often go hand in hand. That is why senior living can be a beneficial experience for lonely older adults who want to become a part of a community and foster healthy social relationships.
At St. Andrew’s, community living can help promote healthy aging. All our staff members—from caregivers to managers to partnered healthcare providers—take the initiatives to build a social network among our residents, their families, and other staff members. The result is a healthy community that truly knows and cares for each other.
We foster community everywhere we can. Our wellness programs promote age-appropriate physical activity in group settings. We offer religious services to help promote a sense of spirituality and inclusion among people from all walks of life. Our communal dining area allows residents to enjoy conversation around mouth-watering meals. What permeates our communities at every level—from memory care to assisted living to independent living and more—is a sense of connectedness.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your aging loved one feel welcome and included in our network of caring senior living communities.