In growing numbers, many elderly and senior citizens are opting to stay in their own homes, even if they will be living alone. However, senior isolation can be detrimental to many aspects of their well-being. Fortunately, in-home caregivers can help combat the effects of loneliness.
Social isolation is a real threat to the well-being of seniors receiving in-home caregiving. Experience.care writes, “Social isolation is the lack of contact between an individual and their family, friends, and society which leads to sadness, general boredom, lack of interest, societal withdrawal, and a decline in overall health.” This can include disintegration of personal hygiene, poor eating and nutrition, weight loss, and health declines including cognitive and social abilities.
Isolation and loneliness are not only unpleasant experiences but impactful problems for seniors in-home care. As inherently social creatures, humans suffer without the presence of others, and this can decrease their life expectancy by a number of years. Circle of Care even goes as far as stating that, “The Journal of Aging Life Care tells us that social isolation in the elderly produces health risks of the same magnitude as smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.”
There are a number of ways you can help a senior in-home care combat isolation, starting with the integration of modern technology. Adaptive technologies like hearing aids and proper glasses can help seniors battle loneliness and isolation, as these aids can help them read body language and better engage in conversation or understand media like television, music, or a phone call. It can also be world-changing for adult in-home care to learn how to video call their family and friends, use social media platforms, or message loved ones.
Use of technology should, as is recommended for anyone, be balanced with time outside and exposure to sunlight and fresh air. Encouraging seniors in-home care to engage in activities like pet sitting, dog walking, or communal gardening can be extremely beneficial to both their physical health and social wellbeing by providing a sense of purpose and connectedness.
This feeling of purpose and social integration can come from other places too, such as religious services. By creating opportunities for seniors to connect to their faith and those that share it, their social lives can flourish even when their cognitive function is declining.
Caregivers and family members can support seniors through this relatively isolated period of life by taking advantage of modern technology, engaging them with activities that bring them joy, and hiring a professional caregiver. All of these options provide an opportunity for connection between the senior in question and the people around them, and they are much more likely to thrive and sustain their wellbeing with regular interaction and connection.