Ensuring Your Senior Loved One Has the Social Support Systems They Need to Thrive

According to 2019 data from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, loneliness is an unfortunate reality among many seniors, with as many as one-third of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 suffering from it. What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that loneliness can have dire consequences apart from just mental distress, as feelings of isolation can have an impact on a senior’s physical health. For these reasons, seniors should have social support systems in place so they can thrive and lower their risk of health problems like cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, and others. One study from UC Berkeley even found that elderly individuals who had frequent social connections experienced 70% slower rates of cognitive decline compared to those who had little to no social interaction with others. By facilitating an environment with strong social support systems, senior citizens can thrive and live a better quality of life.

Identifying & Addressing Reasons for Loneliness to Find the Appropriate Social Support Systems

Luckily, the effects of loneliness can be reversed, and although researchers still are trying to determine the best way to do it, it really depends on the senior’s reasons for feeling lonely or isolated. For example, do they feel alone in grappling with the effects of grief after the loss of a spouse? Are they learning how to live with a chronic illness and feeling that nobody else understands what they’re going through? Is there mobility lacking, making getting out of their home a challenge without assistance from someone else?

Seniors often benefit from community-based services such as senior citizen centers. Today, about 15,000 senior centers exist nationwide. That’s because having access to a group of adults to socialize with can positively contribute to their psychological and physical wellness, reduce stress, boost physical health, and stave off mental health woes like depression and anxiety.

Examples of community-based services often offered at senior centers include:

  • Adult day care centers
  • Grief-based support groups
  • Chronic illness-related support groups
  • Financial and legal assistance
  • Meal programs
  • Transportation programs
  • Exercise classes like Zumba or yoga
  • Arts and humanities activities

Finding Social Supports for Your Elderly Loved One

It may take time for an elderly person to identify what is making them feel lonely and isolated, as they may not be fully conscious of the reasons they feel depressed. Self-awareness is key. Almost any program offered at a senior center is useful for boosting self-awareness and instilling self-confidence. Suppose your loved one isn’t quite sure which kinds of activities would make them feel less isolated and more involved with their peers. In that case, there are methods to help increase self-awareness, such as discussing their feelings in therapy, journaling, group exercise, or finding any social activities they would enjoy and branching out from there.

Consider In-Home Caregiving as a Source of Companionship & Assistance for Your Elderly Loved One

One way to ensure your senior friend or family member gets the care and attention they need and deserve is to hire in-home care so they can age in place, at home, and without the risk of their loneliness going unnoticed. In-home caregivers such as our compassionate staff members at At Home Healthcare can give your loved ones the companionship they need to thrive and help them find meaningful activities.

To discuss in-home caregiving with our team from At Home Healthcare, please call us today at (877) 959-9093.

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