Communicating with friends and family has never been easier for those in senior care; social media makes sharing our daily lives only a few keystrokes away. Yet, we continue to experience loneliness; and seniors report more loneliness than any other group.
Many people experience loneliness in old age. Sometimes loneliness is a result of living alone or a lack of close family ties. It can also come about due to a lack of involvement in community activities and a loss of connection with friends.
As we age, it is inevitable that our friendship networks change, and it becomes more difficult to make new friends. Children move away, lifelong friends die, and retirement means a change in socialization and friendships. Additionally, physical limitations may place boundaries on activities and opportunities for socialization and some medications can cause depression.
Loneliness among the aging is a factor in senior care, since studies show that lonely seniors experience more health problems and die younger. Unfortunately, marriage is not necessarily an antidote to loneliness. Studies show that approximately two thirds of lonely seniors are married or living with a partner. The quality of the relationship is a definite factor in predicting loneliness and depression.
Why Good Senior Care Needs to Address Loneliness
Research shows a definite correlation between loneliness and depression. However, family members and caregivers often do not recognize signs of depression because depression in aging persons does not necessarily indicate sadness. Instead, depressed seniors complain of difficulty with daily activities, physical pain, and sleep difficulties. Other symptoms might include a loss of interest in hobbies or social events, weight loss or a loss of appetite, lack of energy and motivation, slowed movement or speech, memory problems, and neglecting personal care.
Ways to Combat Loneliness and Depression in Seniors
When you are depressed, you may lack the motivation to go out and socialize, but isolation only makes the situation worse. One of the best ways to overcome depression is to become engaged socially, mentally, and physically. However, this can be difficult on your own. You need to find support in your social network, your senior care professional, or in your community.
How Senior Care Helps
It is easy for seniors to become isolated, especially when they live alone. Hiring a senior companion is a great way to make a new friend and find someone to help you get out more. Look for someone with an outgoing personality that can help you laugh more and celebrate the beauty around you. They can help you see your town in a new light while taking care of your specific needs. With help, you’ll have the confidence to overcome your reservations and form new relationships in your community.
Another idea is to join your local senior center. A senior center is a great place to meet new people and learn new skills. Many senior centers offer classes to help you explore your talents and find new hobbies. You’ll likely learn new skills while you meet like-minded people and build a support network.
Get out into your community more, learn new skills, and share yourself with others. Soon you’ll make new friends and be on your way to conquering loneliness and depression.