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6 Factors that Lead to Social Isolation in Seniors

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Aging adults may be at risk for social isolation. If your senior loved one is socially isolated, he or she may be more susceptible to both medical and psychological issues. Here are some of the top reasons aging adults become socially isolated and how you can reduce your loved one’s risk.

1. Inability to Drive

If your loved one has vision impairment or cognitive deficits, he or she may be unable to drive. When driving privileges are taken away, seniors often feel a loss of independence. If your loved one is unable to drive, he or she may become socially isolated. Offer your driving services and investigate other means of transportation, which may include rideshare options, senior citizen transportation services, and public transportation routes.

2. Hearing Impairment

Seniors who experience hearing loss may decline social invitations from family and friends because they feel embarrassed when they’re unable to participate in conversations or understand what others are saying. If your loved one complains about hearing loss, make an appointment with an audiologist to perform a comprehensive hearing examination. The audiologist may recommend hearing aids, which enhance auditory acuity and may give your loved one more confidence in social situations.

3. Mobility Limitations

If your loved one’s mobility status has changed due to degenerative conditions of the bones or otherwise, he or she may be unable to socialize. Mobility issues may physically prevent your loved one from leaving the house, and he or she may also feel self-conscious about these physical deficits. If your loved one has limited mobility as a result of pain, make sure he or she takes all prescribed medications. Also, talk to the doctor about referring your loved one to a physical therapist, who may be able to help your loved one overcome limited mobility. Once mobility has increased, your loved one may be more likely to venture out of the house. 

Seniors with mobility limitations could also develop serious illnesses, making it a challenge to care for themselves. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the West Hartford live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.

4. Depression

Severe depression can cause seniors to sleep excessively and even prevent them from getting out of bed in the morning. If your loved one’s mood, behavior, or eating or sleeping habits change, make an appointment with the physician. These signs may indicate your loved one is depressed. Once the depression is well managed, he or she may be more likely to engage in social situations.

Social isolation can result in mental, emotional, and physical challenges, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. In West Hartford, 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.

5. Dwindling Friend Group

As people age, they may have fewer friends to socialize with due to death or because their friends have medical conditions or severe cognitive deficits. If your loved one no longer has peers to interact with, social isolation may occur. Make sure to organize social outings with other family members so your loved one can get out of the house and mingle with other people.

6. Illness

A severe illness or chronic pain may also prevent aging adults from socializing. While the inability to socialize for a few weeks while recuperating from an illness may not have any significant effect on your loved one, being housebound for months at a time may cause social isolation. If your loved one is unable to leave the home, encourage family and friends to visit, which will keep your loved one busy and prevent social isolation. 

Social activity is only one of many factors that contribute to robust mental and physical health in seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. West Hartford, CT, families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (860) 372.4500 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.