No one is immune from the inevitable scourge of loneliness. When we age, we lose loved ones and friends. Our circle of influence shrinks in size along with the physical traits of our bodies. The consequences of loneliness directly impacts your health. Researchers from Brigham Young University reviewed several studies on loneliness. They found social isolation increased the chance of premature death among people by 50 percent. Other studies show that loneliness can increase blood pressure, raise cholesterol levels, exacerbate depression and reduce cognitive abilities.
LONELINESS IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH
There are different factors that contribute to loneliness among the elderly. Family members move, spouses pass away and aging bodies limit the ability to move around.
There are also, fewer family members to check in on seniors. One study found that because older adults had fewer children than previous generations, they do not have the family to provide care or to make an appropriate number of visits.
6 WAYS TO REDUCE ISOLATION
1. Volunteer: There are organizations in the community in need of senior volunteers. The Senior Companion is a peer-to-peer program where volunteers above the age of 55 can befriend seniors in San Antonio and in the Bexar County area. Another organization, the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, has opportunities at parks, schools and the Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio.
2. Book Club: Join or start a club. There are a variety of book club meetups in San Antonio that tailor to all kinds of interests. If you want to launch your own club, decide on a theme. Then, spread the word to neighbors or your friends at church.
3. Hobby: There are different hobbies that can keep seniors entertained and active throughout the day.
- Card games
- Arts and crafts
- Making Music
- Take classes
4. Adopt a Pet: Animals can help the elderly find a new purpose in life. The act of feeding, bathing and loving an animal can also, improve their health. Researchers in Sweden discovered dog owners live longer compared to people who live alone.
5. Join a Senior Centers: There are places where the elderly can socialize, eat and get access to needed services. In 2003, city leaders and a panel of seniors recommended the creation of these centers. The City of San Antonio has multiple locations where they can go.
6. Pride PHC: For seniors who want to age independently at home, our caregivers provide personal services when they visit your home. Pride providers can help with bathing, dressing, house chores, and provide needed companionship.