Social isolation is a growing epidemic among elderly adults in the United States. For a variety of reasons, some elderly people have increasingly limited interaction with others in their community. While a career, family, hobbies, and the daily tasks of life once made them get out and about, today’s retired elderly adults with grown kids and aging bodies simply don’t have as much opportunity or ability.
Family caregivers and elder care aides need to be on the lookout for whether their elderly relative is struggling with social isolation. Studies show that socially isolated seniors are at a higher risk for physical health issues, plus depression and loneliness. Those who are socially isolated are also more likely to experience cognitive decline. Family caregivers need to watch for the warning signs to look for in their elderly loved ones.
Here are 5 signs of social isolation that family caregivers should be aware of:
1. Lack of Transportation.
One of the biggest factors in creating a socially isolating life is the lack of transportation. Sometimes with age, seniors can no longer drive or they are afraid to. They may live in a rural area without public transportation, or they may not know how to use it. If they aren’t aware of transportation options like ride sharing, community senior transport, and similar solutions, the elderly adults risk being homebound for days and weeks at a time.
2. Living Alone.
Most adults raise a family of their own, but divorce, death, and moving away can take family members out of a person’s home. Socially isolated seniors often live alone and don’t have family members living close by. They miss out on family events like birthdays, graduations, and holidays because they don’t have the ability or the means to travel. Even a dog or cat can provide some companionship for seniors.
3. Disinterested in Activities.
When seniors say they are not interested in activities they once enjoyed, that is a big red flag for caregivers. While sometimes their physical limitations prevent them from doing the hobbies they love, active seniors try new things and fill their days with community center events, volunteering, visits, and friends. Seniors with social isolation are often no longer interested in socializing and may dismiss efforts to get them involved.
4. Poor Health.
While poor health may prevent seniors from participating in a number of activities, social isolation can contribute to poor health. This downward spiral is difficult to break. Furthermore, socially isolated seniors often skip out on regular doctor visits, putting their health and wellness at even greater risk. Social isolation is also a big factor in some seniors developing depression, a serious mental illness that needs therapy to overcome.
5. Refusing Help.
Seniors that are socially isolated will often insist they are fine and don’t need any help. Sometimes, they are too proud to accept it or they really feel as if they are doing fine on their own. They may dismiss elder care aides, friendly neighbors, and even family members as being pushy or nosy. Seniors that constantly refuse visits and assistance are often afraid of being put in a home, so they try to prove they are fine on their own.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Perry, FL, please call the caring staff at Hopewell In-Home Senior Care today at 850-386-5552. Providing Senior Care Services in North Florida.