Loneliness and Older Adults: How Community Living Can Support Socialization

Loneliness and Older Adults: How Community Living Can Support Socialization article image

Contributed by: Gary & Amy Feger of CarePatrol of Delaware & Maryland Eastern Shore

Many older adults, especially those with health issues, are lonely. According to a new study, one in four seniors say they feel isolated from other people at least some of the time, and one in three say they lack regular companionship.

Chronic loneliness doesn’t just affect older adults’ mental health. According to the study, it can also impact a person’s memory, physical well-being and life expectancy.

“In fact, some research suggests that chronic loneliness may shorten life expectancy even more than being overweight or sedentary, and just as much as smoking,” said the authors of the study. “It is also possible for health problems to contribute to feelings of loneliness. For example, hearing loss or mobility limitations may decrease opportunities for social interaction and increase feelings of loneliness.”

What can be done to combat loneliness?

Older adults with good health habits, which include things like exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep, and those who are socially active every day or several times a week, are less likely to report feeling a lack of companionship or feeling isolated from others.

Community living supports many of the aspects of life that can help mitigate loneliness.

For example, not only are nutritious meals provided every day, but eating together in a dining room with other residents provides an opportunity for fellowship and conversation. Communities also offer a variety of daily activities - from exercise programs to crafts to games and so much more - that provide additional ways for residents to make meaningful social connections.

In addition, senior living communities are designed to be accessible so residents with mobility limitations are able to easily get to and from where they need to go. Communities also offer additional services such as medication reminders, personal care and light housekeeping so residents can get assistance with the activities of daily living that are key to a high quality of life.

If you have a patient who is lonely or at risk of loneliness and could benefit from community living, please let me know. Together we can help them find a safer senior living solution.

CarePatrol of Delaware & Maryland Eastern Shore Gary & Amy Feger P.O. Box 7 Selbyville, DE 19975 302-524-8237 garyf@carepatrol.com amyf@carepatrol.com