A new study published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics revealed that a significant number of people in their late 80s feel more intense loneliness and isolation than at almost any other time in their lives. Due to factors largely beyond their control, aging adults have plenty of reasons to feel lonely. To avoid the negative effects of chronic loneliness in their elderly relative, family caregivers must take a proactive approach and hire an elder care provider to assist.
Why are Seniors in Their Late 80s So Lonely?
It’s easy to see why some of the most isolated people in the country are senior citizens. There are several contributing factors as to why seniors, especially those in their late 80s, are so affected. First, diminishing health plays a big role in limiting how much activity seniors can do. By this age, a large portion of seniors have lost their ability to drive and are dependent on others to leave the house. Second, their dependence on friends and family members increases, so if their support group doesn’t have time to help them out, they are essentially waiting until they can.
Another factor that contributes to chronic loneliness in aging adults is the changes to their social circles. Because they are usually several decades removed from retirement, many aging adults have lost track of friends and acquaintances in the workplace and in the community. Their grown children or other family members are often located in other parts of the country. If they once participated in community events or volunteered, their physical condition may now be limiting that as well. Of course, loneliness isn’t limited to seniors, but they are the largest group likely to be affected and family caregivers need to step in to assure that won’t happen to their loved one.
Aiding Elderly Adults in Becoming More Social.
Even though family caregivers try their hardest and want the best for their aging loved ones, they are often not able to facilitate a lot of social activities and interactions. To combat the problem, many family caregivers hire elder care providers to assist their aging relatives with day-to-day needs. Along with housekeeping and personal care duties, elder care providers can also fulfill the role of companion and be the bridge between seniors and their social interactions in the community.
Elder care providers can assist aging adults in getting out of the house and engaging socially. They can take elderly adults to medical appointments, the hair dresser, and to the community senior center. Depending on the aging adult’s abilities, they can also go to the movies, visit a museum, enjoy the outdoors, and even take in a sporting event.
When seniors can rely on someone to help them get around, there’s a much lower risk of isolation and loneliness. It’s important for family caregivers to consider the harmful effects of loneliness in their aging loved one’s life and hire an elder care provider to alleviate isolation.