Aging-in-place isn’t a trend invented by the construction industry to make money remodeling. It’s a way for seniors to hold on to their independence as long as possible. Many seniors would prefer to live alone instead of being moved to a nursing home, but isolation and loneliness often accompany the fiercely independent.
Why Does Isolation Occur?
Seniors who choose to live alone may not have family and friends close by. Baby boomers did not have as many children as the previous generation, leaving fewer people to take care of the older generation. A current trend being recognized is that their caregiver may work during the day, leaving the senior alone for long periods of time.
Unfortunately for some, spouses pass away. Some seniors may have health problems that preclude their ability to drive. Some seniors may have concerns about incontinence in public. Finances may also be an issue that limits the ability to go out for socialization. There may be barriers in the community that leave seniors feeling unwelcome which can also lead them to not wanting to socialize.
Medicare Advantage names senior isolation as “America’s quietest health risk.” Seniors aren’t just cut off from loved ones when they are alone. They may not get benefits and resources that would help them have a better quality of life. Isolation increases the risk of depression, malnutrition and high blood pressure. Isolation and loneliness are a big problem for seniors, but they don’t have to be.
The Solution to Isolation?
Seniors need others. Family members can use video chat to keep in touch. If your loved one is up to taking care of a pet, that could be a solution to isolation. Seniors who can get out may enjoy a senior center where they can meet others. Companionship care is another solution to the problem of isolation. Interaction with another human can be great for the mind.
- In-home caregivers offer many benefits to seniors more than just companionship alone. Here are a few things that the caregiver can assist with:
- Monitoring medication, doctor’s appointments and healthcare issues.
- Personal care, cooking and light housework.
- Friendly conversation which stimulates the senior’s mind to keep them sharp.
- Play games, do puzzles or read books, which has been shown to keep the mind alert and engaged.
- Go on field trips, to visit others, for physical therapy or to provide light exercise.
Companionship care also helps the family caregiver by providing care when the person is unavailable. Caregivers often don’t take time for themselves and can lead to becoming burnt out.
Learn Options to Help Your Loved One Maintain Independence