Owners' Blog

Who Has the Biggest Risk of Social Isolation?

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Not every senior deals with social isolation. For those that do, it can be difficult to overcome. Studies prove that social isolation can impact physical and mental health.

It's time to look at your parents. Are they at risk of social isolation? Here are some of the ways people become distanced from the outside world.

Health Changes and Makes It Hard to Leave the House

When a senior citizen has a health issue that impacts mobility, it can be impossible to leave the house to visit friends, go to a local senior center, or go to a show. Some can't drive and become housebound. Those seniors have to rely on friends and family members coming to their home to visit.

Friends and Family Move to Other Countries or States

After retirement, you lose the daily contact with coworkers. Friends may move away to experience retirement in a warmer climate or new country. As friends leave, a senior's social network can shrink. It leaves them with fewer people to see and spend time with regularly.

Another issue occurs when adult children move to new states for better jobs or lower housing costs. Senior citizens may not want to follow them and become more isolated with family members spread out across the country.

Retirement Income Requires a Tighter Belt

When shifting from a full-time income to retirement income, some seniors have to cut expenses. Entertainment budgets usually see the deepest cuts. With no money to join friends for dinners or lunches at local restaurants, seniors may stop going out. No one wants to admit that money is tight and they can't afford the same luxuries as others.

Some seniors will sell a car to reduce car insurance and maintenance expenses. Others may downsize to a smaller home, which requires a move to a new area that can be farther from where stores, restaurants, and friends are.

Depression Sets In

Depression may start when a senior becomes socially isolated, but it can also develop after the death of a spouse or a disheartening medical diagnosis. Seniors who do become depressed benefit from social activities, but it can be hard to leave the house or even get out of bed when depression is present.

When a senior is depressed, it can also make that person agitated and unpleasant to be around. Some friends and family members may distance themselves from the mood swings and unhappy attitudes. If you notice this happening with your parent, call a medical professional.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Suwanee, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.