Senior Care Blog Wayland and Weston

The Risks Associated with Isolation for Your Aging Parent

By Denise Roskamp

Home Care in Framingham MA

As a family caregiver you know that some of the risks that your aging parent faces are obvious, such as the potential for falls, low vision, hearing loss, cognitive decline, and the possibility of suffering certain medical conditions and complications. You do what you can to reduce these risks and help your parent to stay as safe and healthy as possible. Some risks, however, are not quite so obvious. One of the most pressing, and possibly the most dangerous, is isolation.

Some of the risks associated with isolation for elderly adults include:

  • 40 percent of elderly adults surveyed reported experiencing loneliness
  • This amount has doubled since similar surveys in the 1980s
  • Elderly adults who suffer regular social isolation are approximately twice as likely to experience death prematurely
  • The increase of the risk of death associated with not getting enough social interaction is similar to that of smoking
  • Loneliness and lack of adequate social interaction create a risk that is approximately twice that of obesity
  • Social isolation suppresses the immune system. This is particularly dangerous for elderly adults as seniors tend to have immune systems that are already lower than those of younger adults. That puts isolated adults at a further increased risk of infection and illness
  • Loneliness and isolation are linked to increased inflammation, which can make your aging loved one more vulnerable to potentially serious health risks and complications such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and Type II diabetes
  • The increase is internet usage is actually increasing instances of loneliness and isolation. In fact, studies have shown that the more frequently a person engages in use of social media, the less likely they are to be happy and not experience loneliness and isolation.
  • Isolation can cause loss of motivation in your aging parent. This means that they are less likely to feel important and relevant so they may not follow through with the care and treatment that they need to keep them healthy as they age in place.

If you are concerned that your aging parent is at risk of suffering from isolation and its potential consequences, now may be the ideal time for you to consider home care for them. An in-home senior care services provider is not just a valuable source of physical assistance and encouragement for your parent. This care provider can also offer dedicated companionship and support that addresses their loneliness and isolation, helping to improve their mental and emotional health and give them a higher quality of life as they age in place. This care provider can help your loved one by planning and participating in activities with them, encouraging them to get out of the home more often, and enabling them to be a part of activities such as adult learning opportunities, clubs, and organizations by providing safe and reliable transportation. This can give you greater peace of mind knowing that your senior is safe, healthy, and getting the support that they need even when you are not able to be with them.