When you worry about how an elderly loved one is doing at home, your first thought may be their physical health and safety.
Can they move around easily? Are they eating regularly and well?
However, there’s another important factor to consider: Are they socially active, or are they at risk for senior isolation?
Unfortunately, senior isolation goes hand in hand with many common aspects of aging. Seniors with mobility issues may find it harder to visit with family and friends and take part in their favorite pastimes. Meanwhile, seniors who are experiencing memory loss or confusion may withdraw from their circles out of fear or self-consciousness.
In addition, many seniors will see their social circles shrink because they’ve left their jobs, their neighbourhoods have changed, or because their friends have moved or passed away. As is common practice, their adult children may also live in different cities, provinces, or territories.
But why is senior isolation such a risk for seniors? And what can you do to keep your elderly loved ones more engaged with the world - especially in the age of COVID-19?
The Risks of Senior Isolation and How You Can Prevent It
There are three vital reasons why senior isolation is so risky, and why socialization is so important:
- Linked to poor health and cognitive decline - A recent study linked social isolation with a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, and dementia among seniors.
- Lead to depression and self-neglect - Seniors who feel isolated may face a higher risk of depression. Symptoms of depression among seniors can include irritability, a sense of hopelessness, a lack of interest in activities they enjoy, less energy, and poor sleeping or eating habits.
- Improvement in mood and a higher quality of life - Routine visits and planned activities can provide structure and purpose and can keep seniors rooted in their communities at a time when so much is changing around them. It can also help them feel more connected to themselves.
Unfortunately, many seniors in Canada who may not have been concerned about senior isolation and its risks are now exposed to this issue due to COVID-19. Some care providers emphasize the need to prioritize human contact.
How Senior Home Care by Angels Can Help
If you're worried that your elderly loved one is isolating themselves from friends and family, Senior Home Care by Angels can fulfill their need for social interaction and companionship. Our caregivers can spend quality time with your loved one, engage in conversation, and join in on some of their favourite activities. In addition, we can help your loved one learn how to use the latest technology like social media and smartphones to stay connected with the people they care about through our Social Care program.
If you're interested in learning how in-home care can help your senior loved one, contact Senior Home Care by Angels, Canada's leading provider of in-home care. Our care coordinators are available to discuss your senior's needs via a free in-home consultation.
Get in touch with your local Senior Home Care by Angels office today!