Loneliness and social isolation are serious health risk factors that affect a significant number of older adults in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, social isolation in seniors is associated with an increased chance of developing dementia and other health problems.
Seniors are more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation due to factors such as living on their own or losing touch with their friends. As such, we should encourage our family members and loved ones to participate in social activities to keep themselves active and occupied. Let us do our part to ensure that our loved ones are kept safe from negative feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
What Is Loneliness and Social Isolation?
Social isolation is the lack of social contact or interactions with others. On the other hand, loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of how much social contact one may have. Social isolation can cause some to feel lonely, while others can feel lonely even when they are not socially isolated. Despite it being hard to measure loneliness and social isolation, research has shown that many adults above the age of 50 are lonely or socially isolated in ways that lead to the endangerment of their health.
Health Risks of Loneliness and Social Isolation
Recent studies have found that loneliness is linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among seniors. In patients with heart failure, loneliness is found to increase the risk of death by four times! Lonely patients with heart problems are also seeing a 57% increased risk of having to visit the emergency department, and 68% increased risk of being hospitalized. Meanwhile, older adults who experience social isolation are known to be at a higher risk of premature death and have a 50% increased risk of developing dementia. Those with poor social relationships, as characterized by loneliness or social isolation, are also associated with a 32% increased risk of stroke and a 29% increased risk of heart disease.
Avoiding Loneliness and Social Isolation
We are social beings who require high-quality social interactions and relationships to enjoy good overall health. Do you know that people who are emotionally and mentally healthy live longer, happier lives? Having a support network made up of friends and family members in your community can create an inclusive environment of people promoting one another’s mental and emotional wellbeing. Participating in fun group activities can also help to keep feelings of loneliness at bay.
If you or your loved one has poor social connections or is experiencing feelings of loneliness, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your doctor to assess your risk for loneliness and social isolation. Loneliness and social isolation can certainly be prevented through tailor-made social programs that fit your needs.
Exclusive Senior Living Programs at The Park Oak Grove
If you are planning to move into a senior assisted living community, we warmly welcome you to tour our beautiful grounds at The Park Oak Grove and learn more about our senior living programs! Here at The Park Oak Grove, we have an exciting lineup of programs and activities designed to meet your social and wellness needs. Our Celebrations Activities & Events program is filled with new and entertaining activities such as movie nights and arts and crafts sessions. Our residents’ health is one of our priorities. As such, our Dimensions Health & Wellness program provides fitness programs that are specially designed for every resident to promote holistic health. With a selection of exciting senior living programs available, our residents are living their best lives at The Park Oak Grove.