According to a 2019 National Poll on Healthy Aging, one in three seniors feel lonely. Studies have found that loneliness can increase their risk of developing various health issues, such as depression, anxiety, a heart attack, and a stroke.
Therefore, human interaction could prevent the development of physical and mental health issues, which could add years to their life. Keep reading to find out how seniors can combat loneliness.
Adopt a Pet
A 2020 study published in The Gerontologist found that pet companionship helped people over the age of 50 combat loneliness, especially following the death of a partner or a loved one. It is believed pet ownership can decrease the feeling of loneliness and depression in older adults. If you or a loved one feel alone each day and long for company, adopting a dog or a cat is a worthwhile consideration.
Call a Loved One or a Helpline
Seniors may not want to feel like a burden on other people’s lives, so they might be reluctant to pick up the phone to talk to a loved one. However, in most cases, an elder’s family and friends would be more than happy to have a chat, especially if they know how lonely they are feeling. If a senior doesn’t have a loved one to call, there are many fantastic helplines available to help combat various age-related problems, including loneliness. For example, an elder can call:
- Aging (IOA) CONNECT
- Friendship Line
- Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly
- Silver Line
Consider an Assisted Living Community
Assisted living can transform a senior’s quality of life. In addition to providing comfortable, homely apartments, many communities often offer daily programs, dining spaces, and manicured gardens that can help residents socialize.
It could provide human interaction that many seniors often crave, which is why you should consider the atmosphere, amenities, and entertainment options before making a decision. For example, residents at Brightview assisted living in Baltimore say that one of the biggest factors in choosing an assisted living community is the overall community feel and connection they feel to other residents.
Reach Out to Local Services
Seniors who are struggling to meet people or are homebound don’t need to suffer in silence. All they must do is call their area agency for aging or their place of worship, as they could arrange a home visitation service or a community transport to help them connect with others.
Talk to a Doctor
As mentioned earlier, loneliness can often turn into depression, which may lead to physical and mental deterioration. If you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of despair, sadness, a poor appetite, or suicidal thoughts, it is essential to discuss the issue with a doctor. After a diagnosis, a healthcare provider can provide the appropriate treatment options and make recommendations to help a senior overcome both loneliness and depression.
Loneliness isn’t a normal aspect of aging. Many fantastic services are available to help people enjoy companionship, assistance, and support throughout their golden years.