Tips for Thought

Tips to Combat Loneliness for Seniors

Humans are social creatures, but as we grow older, we may want to spend more time alone. Many seniors opt to live independent lives to enjoy their golden years in peace. However, one side effect of this situation is loneliness, which can affect an older adult’s health physically and psychologically.

Loneliness vs. Social Isolation: Related but not the same

To start, we must understand the difference between loneliness and social isolation.

Loneliness is a feeling of distress that comes from feeling alone. On the other hand, social isolation is an arrangement when a person is physically and socially independent from a group and would instead do things alone. It’s important to note that people who are usually alone are not necessarily lonely, while people who may have many family members feel lonely because they don’t have anyone to relate to.

How does loneliness affect an older adult’s health?

Loneliness is not just a distressing feeling. Many senior citizens who experience this feeling may get a little exercise, smoke excessively, have poor sleeping schedules, and drink excess alcohol. These habits translate into physical health problems like high blood pressure, cognitive decline, heart disease, and obesity.

On the psychological side, loneliness can cause cognitive decline because of the lack of mental stimulation, possibly leading to dementia. It also leads to depression due to the lack of social support.

What are some loneliness solutions for the elderly?

Here are some ways to manage loneliness when living alone for the elderly:

  • Seek counseling. Many licensed therapists are experts when it comes to handling these feelings. Aside from a listening ear, they can also provide practical solutions to help you get through this crisis.
  • Find a hobby you enjoy. Is there a skill you’ve always wanted to try but never had the time? If so, try forming a hobby club or even take a group class to learn something new! Some suggestions include knitting, cooking, learning a new language, dancing, and even playing an instrument!
  • Make some time to talk to your family and friends. If your loved ones live far away, consider using modern technology like instant messaging, video chatting, or just a simple phone call. You can also start writing letters and sending postcards and encourage your loved ones to reply and send the same.
  • Adopt a pet. An animal companion may not be able to understand us, but they do love us like their own! If you’re an animal lover, visit your nearest animal shelter and adopt a companion today. You can even use your daily walks as a way to get exercise.
  • Start exercising. Being physically active promotes endorphins, the “feel good” hormones of your body which help improve your overall mood. Daily exercises like walks and stretches help tone muscles and keep your blood circulation.
  • Start volunteering. Whether it’s a faith-based group or not, consider spending some time with others by volunteering to offer a helping hand.

Many seniors opt to live alone after retirement to enjoy the rest of their golden years in peace. However, loneliness can be a side effect of this living situation, debilitatingly impacting a person’s physical and mental health. If you are currently feeling lonely or know a loved one who needs social connection—try to make time for yourself or them to ease their burden.

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Tips for Thoughts

Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.

Tips for Thoughts

Copyright 2022 | All Rights Reserved.