Do you know that loneliness and senior isolation are different? While they are closely related, the AARP Foundation refers to loneliness as a feeling or reaction to being alone. On the other hand, senior isolation is the actual physical separation from other people in the community. While both concepts can have devastating effects on human health, the latter if prolonged can pose a higher risk equivalent to the dangers of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Stay on this page to find out the threats and why we should prevent isolation from our loved ones.
The Danger of Premature Death Lurks
When our loved ones are socially isolated, the will to keep up with personal care declines. This means not eating well and exercising as they should regularly.
Folks with mobility issues may find it even more difficult to head out for walks or cook themselves a decent meal. This could result in malnourishment or obesity on the other end of the spectrum. Emotionally, isolation can also cause our family members to lose the determination to thrive. All these factors increase the danger of premature deaths.
Can Lead to Stroke and Heart Diseases
Based on the CDC’s data, isolated persons have a 32% heightened chance of having a stroke and are 29% more likely to develop heart diseases. It’s not hard to understand why.
Physically and mentally isolated folks are more likely to get a stroke because of their lifestyle habits. This includes physical inactivity and binge drinking. Furthermore, there is a higher tendency for them to smoke, eat unhealthily, and develop depression. These can put a strain on the heart and lead to unwanted illnesses.
Increases Risk of Anxiety and Depression
Isolation should be prevented because it increases the hazard of anxiety and depression. While living in this stressful world, most of us have experienced a sudden grip of anxiety due to life’s unexpected circumstances. But these feelings are usually temporary and go away as we seek support from our social networks.
However, isolated elderly persons may not have access to that human-to-human community companionship to help them recover and feel better. Prolonged anxiety if left untreated can lead to depression and other safety concerns.
Our Loved Ones Are Likely to Develop Dementia
Are you aware that socially isolated older persons are 50% more at risk of developing dementia? As we’ve shared in this article, depression, heart diseases, and lack of personal care as a result of isolation can all speed up dementia.
While 5% to 8% of adults over 65 years old have some form of dementia, isolation and its associated risks will cause your loved one to rapidly progress through the stages. If you do not want your beloved family member to lose their memory and communication abilities that soon, be sure to prevent isolation before it worsens.
This is a significantly heavy topic to discuss but absolutely essential. Isolation among older folks should be prevented because of the various risks it presents. Dementia, depression, heart diseases, and premature deaths can be kept at bay if we all act promptly upon it.