It’s not uncommon for aging adults to become disengaged from society. As people grow older, changes in their vision, mobility, reaction times, and general cognition can make it difficult, if not impossible, to get around. This is especially true for seniors who’ve given up their car keys or who’ve become housebound due progressive illnesses, invasive surgeries, or physical injuries. Unfortunately, when seniors spend extended periods of time in isolation, their physical, emotional, and mental health can decline. Following are several, important things to know about senior isolation and its many cause.
Loneliness And Isolation Are Not One And The Same
Although the terms loneliness and isolation are often used interchangeably, they actually mean two very different things. Seniors can be surrounded by family members and friends, and can still experience loneliness due to its entirely subjective nature. Isolation, however, is an objective condition. Seniors who live in isolation typically lack the ability to get out and engage with others. They might be housebound due to progressive, age-related ailments, or as the result of changes in their physical abilities. While dealing with loneliness often involves a change in perspective, isolation requires strategic planning for overcoming specific obstacles.
Fortunately, personal care aides can assist aging adults in overcoming issues with both loneliness and depression. These professionals can provide transportation services to get seniors to and from needs-specific support groups, doctor’s appointments, and social visits with close friends. They can also act as social companions by providing companionship care to those who are shut-in, and who lack the physical ability to socially engage outside of the home.
There Are Multiple Risk Factors For Senior Isolation
The normal aging process isn’t usually sufficient for placing a person at high risk of isolation. More often than not, a secondary factor or event must facilitate a significant change in lifestyle that results in the loss of social contact. Among some of the top factors for this issue are the loss of a spouse, loss of driving privileges, reduced social networks, and poor health. Low self-esteem and poverty also place elderly people at a higher risk of disengaging from society.