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Mental & Physical Effects of Isolation on Aging Adults

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Isolation in the senior years can have devastating effects on an older adult’s physical and mental functioning, and the risk of isolation increases if a senior loses his or her spouse or other loved ones. While you might not be able to stop life events such as a loss, you can make sure your aging loved one never experiences the negative effects of isolation by providing social opportunities and companionship care. Here are a few mental and physical effects of isolation on seniors.

Increased Risk of Malnutrition

Seniors who are isolated for the majority of the day are more likely to eat alone, and they may be tempted to skip meals or eat smaller amounts. For this reason, many seniors who live alone experience signs of malnutrition such as weight loss, vitamin deficiencies, and confusion. When this goes on too long, their health could be in serious jeopardy. Make sure your loved one has someone to share meals with several times a week so he or she can continue to eat a healthy diet.

In Lincoln, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Decreased Cognitive Functioning

Older adults need to communicate with other people regularly to keep their language and comprehension skills functioning. When your loved one is isolated, he or she may go hours or days without talking to anyone, which could lead to changes in the brain that cause rapid memory loss, and you may notice your loved one is having difficulty finding the right words when talking. He or she may also fail to be able to follow a conversation or give up on trying to talk to other people entirely. Help your loved one identify several people he or she can call or visit with each day to preserve the ability to communicate.

Greater Likelihood of Depression and Anxiety

People need to know they have a support network they can turn to for help. A senior who has no one to reach out to may begin to ruminate on negative thoughts. Alternatively, the senior may believe no one cares, which could cause him or her to give up on personal hygiene or other critical parts of his or her daily routine. Over time, isolation contributes to negative emotions that can turn into serious cases of depression and anxiety.

Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to ensure your loved one receives regular social and mental stimulation to prevent isolation. In Lincoln, Nebraska, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Higher Risk for Serious Injuries

Every senior who lives alone should have someone who can check in on him or her on a daily basis. A minor slip or fall could turn into a major issue when a senior lives alone. Many things can happen during the day that could cause your loved one to get hurt, and the last thing you ever want is to find out he or she spent hours in pain waiting for help. Arrange for a caregiver to call or visit your loved one’s house each day to ensure physical health issues are addressed as soon as possible.

For families living in Lincoln, Nebraska, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your senior loved one, call us at (402) 261-5158 today.