Seniors & Loneliness

January 18, 2019

 

 

45% Increased Risk of MORTALITY

In Seniors who REPORT FEELING LONELY

Loneliness has many causes and it is our job to identify modifiable risk factors and address them.  Research has estimated 40% of seniors experience loneliness on a regular basis

 

Besides the obvious human impact, isolation has a financial impact on our pocket books and the health care system.  Healthcare related costs were on average $130.00 more for those who felt socially isolated than their counterparts. 

 

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson PhD. "Persistent loneliness is not only emotionally painful, but can be more damaging to our physical and mental health than many psychiatric illnesses. For instance, lonely people sleep poorly, experience severe depression and anxiety, have reduced immune and cardiovascular functioning, and exhibit sings of early cognitive decline that grow more severe over time."

 

Humans are social beings, It is proven face to face interactions prevent feelings of loneliness. Read on for a few tips to help ease loneliness;

 

1. VOLUNTEER

Sharing your time and talents can improve your perspective on life.  Libraries, Hospitals, Boys & Girls Club, Kerby Centre, Propellus are just a few options in Calgary.  Beautiful friendships can grow from volunteering, find something you close to you and offer your services.

 

2. REMINISCE

Reviewing your life can help you recall your value and purpose by remembering things that matter to you. Research has shown recalling aspect of your life will have a positive impact on your emotional health. Especially helpful for those with cognitive decline.

 

3. COMPANION

Hiring a companion for an hour or two a few times a week can be a good solution for many families.  It provides the needed socialization to just have a chat about every day things for the soul, for a second opinion on how your medications are working, assistance with odd chores around the house that are better done together along with emotional support.  The benefits are notable and provide relief to the isolation.

 

4. ADOPT A PET

Caring for a pet can give you purpose and get you active.  They provide unconditional love, they never judge and bring comfort to everyone.  The City of Calgary offers 60% off adoption rates for Seniors  when adopting a pet over the age of 7 yrs.  Calgary.ca/animalservicecs

 

5. TAKE UP A HOBBY

Whether it is learning an entirely new hobby or restarting an old one.  There are many places through out the city that offer classes for seniors.  The key being you get to socialize with others taking the class.  Maintaining your interests goes a very long way to combatting loneliness.  Gardening not only helps with loneliness is has been show to provide non pharmacological benefits to those with cognitive decline.

 

6. HOMEBOUND

If you are homebound and can get a computer, iPhone, or iPad you can FaceTime, Skype, text and play games with family, friends and others in the community.  Many of the online games involve teaming up with other players.  Don't forget about exercise!  Exercise is very beneficial for easing anxiety, and promoting our feel good hormones. 

 

7. EXERCISE

Maybe you are more fragile or prone to injury but one things is for certain, exercise remains one of there most important factors in maintaining your health.  It is the best way to prevent injury from falls, slow down cognitive decline, improve your overall emotional health and relieve stress.

 

As we age many of us feel like we don't want to bother our friends or family with our problems. This can lead to isolating ourselves especially if you think you can or should manage alone. Staying connected to family and friends helps you cope with changes.  Making a conscious choice to ask for help, is you keeping control of your independence.  

 

An important distinction is; it is often not a matter of whether you CAN do it alone,  it is knowing you don't HAVE to do it alone.  

 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!

 

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January 18, 2019

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