The Effect of Loneliness and Social Isolation in Older Adults

Nov 07, 2022
The Effect of Loneliness and Social Isolation in Older Adults

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to your health. As you or your loved one ages, you’re more likely to become socially isolated. Learn more about the unsettling effects of loneliness, and find out how homecare can help.

Are you a senior who lives alone? Perhaps you’re the son or daughter of an aging parent who lives far away and needs help with daily living tasks. If you or your loved one needs assistance, from medication support to meal assistance or simply companionship, Blessings4Ever Home Care Agency provides a wide variety of in-home services that help keep you connected to the world around you. Why is that important? 

New research shows a direct link between loneliness and social isolation and diminished mental and physical health. Loneliness is at epidemic proportions in the senior population in the United States. More than one-third of adults over age 45 say they’re lonely, and 25% of adults over age 65 are socially isolated. 

Causes of loneliness and social isolation in older adults

Loneliness in our older population isn’t surprising. When a spouse or partner dies, you’re suddenly thrust into a very different social setting. You’re now a single person. If you don’t develop new habits and activities you can pursue with others, your world may become much smaller. 

In addition, you may have good friends who move or pass away. It’s hard to replace close friendships. They take time to develop. 

You may have a chronic illness or disability that makes it difficult to get out of the house without assistance. If you no longer drive, you can’t easily take part in activities outside your neighborhood. All of these factors result in the loneliness epidemic among older adults. 

Effects of loneliness and social isolation

Human beings are made for social connection. Without social relationships, we can’t grow and thrive. 

Research now confirms that becoming socially isolated and feeling lonely are negative factors that lead to physical and mental decline. Socially isolated older adults may have a 50% greater risk of dementia than those who don’t feel alone and isolated. 

Loneliness and isolation affect your mental health. Older adults who feel socially isolated and lonely are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide. 

Feeling isolated also affects your physical health. Your risk of heart disease and stroke increases by about 30%, and if you’re diagnosed with heart failure, your risk of death quadruples. You may experience a weakened immune system that makes you more prone to viruses and other infections that can cause a decline in your health. Loneliness and isolation place you at greater risk for premature death from all causes. 

The importance of home care for older adults

Blessings4Ever Home Care Agency provides a wide range of services that help keep you or your loved one socially engaged. When we provide personal meal assistance, for instance, our staff member can engage in conversation about the kinds of foods you or your loved one likes and how you handled meals if you had a family. 

As your home care aide gets to know you or your loved one, you begin to form a relationship that helps bring the outer world into your home again. 

Call Blessings4Ever Home Care Agency today or request more information through our online portal. Our mission is to improve your or your loved one’s well-being.