Senior Isolation in Winter Effects Health
Fact. The probability of living alone increases as you age. Have you ever thought about your future this way?
For women, the likelihood of living alone is 32% for 65-74-year-olds, but this increases to 57% for those aged 85 years or more; for men, the corresponding proportions are 13% and 29% .
How does this effect our elderly parents? Recent research has shown that feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of dying early by 14%. There is a tangible effect on adult aging and their health. Sleep can be disrupted. Blood pressure may elevate. Overall well being may decline.
Some seniors enjoy and value quiet and solitude. But that is not the issue. Rather, it is the social component of human interaction, and engagement.
Age-related health issues like hearing loss, incontinence or vision loss can increase this sense of senior isolation during winter.
Elderly caregivers, and families, can play a big part in minimizing elderly isolation. Think about encouraging your elderly parents to use easily accessible resources such as hearing aids and walkers. These aids will help keep them more active and socially engaged.
Always a huge issue — look in to transportation options for seniors. Driving skills and winter conditions may be a bad combination. Try to arrange safe transportation for older adults. Look into locally accessible and senior-friendly public transit, or taxi services. Most community Senior Centers provide transportation services for in-town or out-of-town travel. Also, some volunteer groups may offer ride sharing services.
Some community organizations provide volunteers who call and check in on home bound seniors living alone. This social connection and human interaction can provide tremendous elder benefits.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164