Fight Isolation in Older Adults
Isolation is an issue that affects mainly adults 50 and older. About 1 in 5 older adults are at risk of experiencing isolation. After a while, being alone can take a toll on a person. Social interaction and personal connection are precious things that most people crave.
Effects of Isolation
The holidays are a great time for those experiencing isolation to have contact with loved ones. But now that the holidays are over, some adults may feel that contact lacking. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the fastest-growing type of household in people living alone. This also poses health hazards. Older isolated adults have much higher mortality rates. Studies show people living alone have higher rates of breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Depression is also a great concern for those living alone. One of the more obvious affects of living alone is the social detachment. Especially if these adults are retired, social detachment can be harmful. Other factors that can contribute to social detachment include losing your driver’s license, losing a spouse, or other life changing events.
There are a number of things that can be done to fight isolation. If you know someone who is experiencing this, something as simple as a phone call can help. Check in with them and make sure they are doing alright. If you are able, visit them. Go to their home and spend time with them. You can also take them out for a meal. Sometimes just getting out of the house can change your entire day. Keep them in mind when you are doing small things, like running to the grocery store or mall. If you are the one experiencing isolation, reach out to friends and family. If possible, make this a habit, not just something you think to do around the holiday season.
Reducing Isolation through Technology
Technology is a great way to connect with others. Seniors can use applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat to interact with loved ones. Although many older adults are not familiar with technology, these are still valid options. It also introduces the opportunity for a family member or friend to spend time with them teaching them. There are also free TEK workshops provided by AARP across the country, as well as programs at public libraries. Workshops and programs in the community are a great way to get out while also learning new skills that will help you fight isolation.
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