Is senior loneliness a big problem?
“I’m so tired of being alone, I’m so tired of on my own,” goes the old soul song. Tired and alone are not just good lyrics; they are two phenomena that go hand in hand. People experiencing loneliness can develop higher levels of the hormone known as cortisol. Over time, a high build-up of the chemical can lead to irregular sleep patterns, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
According to a study reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of all adults over 45 feel lonely. One-fourth of people over 65 are considered to be socially isolated.
Senior care is often thought of as physical activity to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. Loneliness and isolation statistics are just as high as other health problems. According to one study, chronic loneliness is more dangerous than smoking.
What are the effects of senior loneliness and social isolation?
While loneliness and isolation are not mental health problems per se, their habits can lead to high levels of anxiety and depression. Statistics from Mental Health America warn:
- More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 or over experience depression
- Older adults with depression have nearly 50 percent higher healthcare costs than non-depressed seniors
- 58 percent of people over 65 believe depression is a normal part of aging
Depression, just like dementia, is not a normal part of aging. It’s encouraging to see more openness toward mental health, but there is still a lot to teach most people about the health problems that can develop due to mental health issues.
Seeing depression in older adults is more complex, especially if visits with them are not as often as they should be. Seniors tend to lose or gain weight, experience trouble sleeping, feel guilty, and be easily irritable when they have depression.
Every part of the body is connected, and the pipeline from loneliness to depression and mounting health problems can quickly get out of hand.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia
The CDC warns that people experiencing loneliness are 50 percent more likely to develop cognitive impairments like dementia. Loneliness is not the exact cause of dementia. The inactive lifestyle is the more significant risk factor.
Loneliness risk factors contributing to dementia include:
- Little to no physical activity
- Abusing alcohol
- Inability to fight off inflammation
- Higher levels of stress
Leading a healthy lifestyle full of physical activity, proper nutrition, and a social network reduces dementia risk by 300 percent.
How does assisted living reduce senior loneliness?
In Roswell, GA, you’ll find seniors zipping around town in the back of pedicabs. These are the residents of Historic Roswell Place who focus on treating every day like a vacation and a chance to live their best lives. If you’re wondering how to help lonely seniors, take a cue from our residents.
1. Historic Roswell Place is Pet-Friendly
The joy of owning a pet is something that can reduce cortisol hormone levels and encourage serotonin production. Pet’s give people someone to talk to, and they always seem to have the answers without saying a word.
Owning a pet when you move into senior living is also a great way to meet new people. Pets are a fantastic icebreaker. Dogs especially encourage seniors to stay active, but there are plenty of ways to play with cats as well.
Even the residents who do not own a pet of their own can benefit from furry companionship with our frequent pet therapy visits that vary from canine to equine.
2. Holidays are Never Lonely
If you spend any time in a senior living community, you’ll notice a few things:
- They have a happy Saint Patrick’s Day Party
- They have an awesome Mardi Gras
- Santa or one of his helpers always visits
Holidays and birthdays are terrific ways to get people together for a good time and build community spirit. During the Christmas season, residents love having a little friendly competition decorating the doors to their apartments.
From Passover to 100th birthday celebrations, we create strong bonds enjoying each other’s company.
3. Bodies in Motion
There’s a pill for every ailment, but nothing beats good-old-fashioned calisthenics. Nearly every morning, residents can join in on a group exercise like:
- Chair yoga
- Tai chi
Group wellness encourages seniors to stay on top of their wellness goals, and shared experiences are excellent tools for bonding new relationships.
Movement is also an essential part of the day in our memory care program for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One of the focuses of Connections is using body movement to encourage new neural pathways in the brain.
4. Fun and Games
From puzzle buddies to dance partners, our senior residents have fun. It’s all a part of our calendar of activities. When you call Historic Roswell Place home, expect every day to be a new adventure.
Bingo and book club are popular activities in our community, but we love introducing new hobbies and games whenever we can. Some of the best fun and games are the ones new residents present to us.
We have many celebrations that are perfect for inviting friends and family over to join in on the fun throughout the year. From classic car shows to fireworks on the Fourth of July, our senior living community family gets bigger with each good time.
5. Food is Fuel for Making Friends
Nothing brings people together like a good meal. Thanks to the culinary team, our assisted living community in Roswell, GA, eats very well. They ensure our residents receive three meals in the dining room every day. Snacks are also available daily.
Nearly 50 percent of seniors do not receive the proper nutrition. Our residents enjoy home-cooked meals and Southern favorites prepared in a heart-healthy manner. Our seasonal menu also features fresh local produce.
Special occasions like tea parties, BBQs, and chef demonstrations give seniors a lot of excuses to eat fantastic food and forge new friendships.
About Historic Roswell Place
Our assisted living and memory care community offers seniors a sense of purpose and belonging. Every day leads to social interactions that don’t happen for seniors living alone. With multiple levels of care options, we can orchestrate ways for nearly every older adult to love their life.
Choose from one of the floor plans that are best for you or a loved ones’ lifestyle and decorate it with the comforts of home. Stay connected to new friends in one of our many comfortable lounging areas:
- Covered porches
- Screened-in sunroom
- Private courtyard
Personalized care plans ensure every resident receives the exact care they need. Included on the care options are:
- Activities of daily living assistance (bathing, dressing, transferring, etc.)
- Medication management
- Nurse oversight
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
- Specialized dementia care team members
Let Go of Loneliness in Assisted Living
Roswell area seniors and their families are encouraged to visit our community. Contact us to ask questions or arrange a personalized tour.