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6 Ways Aging Adults Are Affected by Social Isolation

There are so many ways to reach out to a senior loved one. Emails, phone calls, and drop-in visits are all great ways to prevent seniors from feeling isolated. However, many seniors still spend the majority of their days alone, which can lead to these six negative effects that impact their wellbeing.

1. Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Loneliness is a risk factor for addiction. While your loved one may not have previously been the type to drink or abuse drugs, he or she may begin to do so out of the desire to drown out sadness. For seniors who are truly isolated, it may be a long time before anyone notices they’re misusing drugs or alcohol. Make sure your loved one has positive people to spend time with, and keep an eye out for signs of addiction, such as going through large amounts of alcohol or running out of prescription pills early.

2. Malnutrition

Seniors who live alone have no one to share their meals with. Without motivation to sit down and eat, they may skip meals or eat unhealthy foods. Keep your loved one from snacking on junk food in front of the television by having a caregiver stop by for meals. Your loved one may be more likely to eat well when enjoying a nice conversation, and professional caregivers know how to create nutritionally balanced meals. 

Seniors who don’t practice healthy lifestyles could develop serious illnesses, making it a challenge to care for themselves. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Toronto live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.

3. Faster Cognitive Decline

Conversations with other people provide opportunities for seniors to learn new information and strengthen their memory recall abilities. Going days without speaking causes those neural connections that are important for cognitive functioning to die off. Identify several people your loved one can talk to each week, and make sure he or she knows how to reach out for those important chats.

4. Increased Physical Health Issues

Many seniors need help with things that impact their physical health. For instance, your loved one is more likely to go for a walk if he or she has someone there to prevent falls. Seniors may also skip medical appointments if no one is available to help with transportation. Arrange for your loved one to have assistance with his or her daily health regimen so he or she continues to thrive.

5. Depression and Anxiety

Everyone needs someone to lean on during times of emotional distress. The senior years are fraught with stressful moments. Whether your loved one is facing the results of a health test or mourning a recent loss, he or she needs someone to talk to. Trying to manage these types of stress alone could lead to depression and anxiety. Fortunately, just being able to talk to a family member or friend reduces the risk of emotional health disorders substantially.

Social activity is only one of many components that contribute to robust mental and physical health in seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Toronto families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

6. Greater Risk of Elder Abuse

Being socially isolated also increases the risk of being scammed. Elder abuse is a serious issue for seniors, and your loved one is at risk of falling for scammers or being financially abused by people he or she knows. Always make sure trustworthy people are around to keep watch over your loved one to ensure no one takes advantage of his or her kind and loving personality.

Social isolation can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges for aging adults, but they don’t have to manage them alone. In Toronto, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Home Care Assistance will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call us today at (416) 488-8777 to discuss how we can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved one is being cared for with professionalism and compassion.