Seniors Can Suffer From Social Isolation

Social isolation is not only unhealthy for an elderly adult’s mental state, but it can actually have some negative physical effects as well. Family caregivers must do what they can to keep their elderly relatives connected.


Homecare in Toronto: Social Isolation And Your Senior

Homecare in Toronto: Social Isolation And Your Senior


What is Social Isolation?

Many seniors have lots of different people and events in their lives, from family members, senior care aides, and close friends to congregation members, senior center employees, and neighbors. Even though they are retired from work and their families are grown, they can still have active and involved lives. Not all elderly adults are so fortunate, which opens the door to social isolation.

Social isolation happens when elderly people don’t have the opportunity to interact regularly with other people. Some of the factors that contribute to a senior’s social isolation are having grown children that live far away, deteriorating physical health, loss of driving ability, mobility issues, language or communication barriers and lack of transportation options. Studies now show that social isolation is actually linked to greater health problems and even an earlier death in some cases.


Effects of Social Isolation

As medical experts gain more insight into the mental and physical effects of social isolation in seniors, they are learning that staying connected is very important. Without opportunities for elderly people to interact meaningfully with others, they are at an increased risk of falls, hospital visits, depression, faster cognitive decline, alcohol and drug abuse, malnutrition and more.

As their parents, siblings and significant others move away, pass away or live far away, elderly adults often lose that network of support that keeps them integrated into the community. Usually, seniors don’t set out to be socially isolated, but over time their circumstances often leave them with little choice.


How to Prevent Social Isolation in Seniors

This growing epidemic of social isolation among seniors is being addressed by many communities that are working hard to provide some kind of outreach for at-risk elderly citizens. Local health departments, senior centers, religious centers and more often organize volunteers to make phone calls and visits to isolated seniors. Senior centers host a number of activities that are designed to entice seniors to get out and socialize.

Family caregivers can do a lot to help seniors stay connected and they may even have to push them to participate in some cases. They can help their elderly relatives with non-driving transportation options such as ride sharing, public transportation, carpooling and more. They can arrange for senior care companionship aides and sign up for volunteer meals and visit programs. Family members can also help their elderly relative find out what’s going on in the community and make plans to attend.

A variety of factors can hinder an elderly adult’s ability engage with the outside world. Family caregivers need to make the effort to find ways to prevent them from becoming socially isolated. If there are activities for seniors taking place in the community to reduce social isolation and loneliness, they should look into them.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering homecare in Toronto, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.




About Susan Di Michele

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