We’ve all heard the phrase, "bored to death". All of us need to feel purposeful in life, and seniors are no exception. While boredom makes most people lethargic, it can have even greater consequences for seniors. Even to the point of being life-threatening.
Seniors often struggle with depression and anxiety, and boredom is a big culprit in this. They can feel lonely and isolated as they age, and boredom just compounds this problem. Everyone needs self-worth, but we probably don’t realize just how dangerous it can be for seniors to cope with the effects of loss of purpose that comes from just being bored.
Just What are the Effects of Boredom in Seniors?
Back in the 80s, research was conducted on more than 7000 people who were between the ages of 35-55. They were asked about their daily lives and if it included boredom. 25 years have passed, and these same people have been followed up on to determine the conclusion of the impact of boredom on their lives and how it affected their health. The study showed that people who are chronically bored were far more likely to die much younger from conditions such as heart attack and stroke. These study results confirm how powerful the link is between mental and physical health.
Just Why is Boredom So Common in Seniors?
Many seniors struggle with feelings of worthlessness that stem from being bored after they have retired. While this may come as a surprise to many, it’s more common than you think. Our retirement years are supposed to be our time of well-deserved rest and relaxation after decades of being in the workforce. However, many seniors are surprised to find that retirement isn’t what they hoped it would be. The loss of their normal routine, contributing to society, losing friends or family, and health issues can bring about depression and loneliness in seniors after they’ve retired.
Alarming new statistics reveal that men in their senior years are suffering more than anyone from being bored. These numbers suggest that one of the highest rates of suicide is now in men over the age of 85. While senior women have much lower numbers of suicide deaths, there is plenty of evidence that points to overall attempts of suicide being higher in women.
How Do We Prevent Boredom in Seniors?
• Keep active. Staying active keeps the mind sharp and the body healthy. Getting exercise is just as important in your senior years as it is when you are younger!
• Stay Creative. Take up a new hobby or return to an old one. You never know what new skills you may discover, and brain function is always improved when we have a creative outlet.
• Keep Up Your Social Life. The biggest enemy of boredom is social activity. Keeping up with friends and family, going on outings, talking on the phone, and community activities allow seniors to stay happy and connected.
• Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things. Volunteer for a worthy cause or charity, join a book club or even sign up to take a class to learn something new. Stepping out of our comfort zone will go a long way in preventing boredom.
Seniors deserve the best life possible. They are often forgotten and fear dying bored and alone. Don’t let this happen to the senior loved one in your life! For more information on preventing boredom in seniors, contact us today!