The occurrence of loneliness and isolation generally increases as we grow older. It can also lead to a higher risk of dementia and other serious health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While being isolated results from having no or few social connections, a person can also feel alone even if there is social contact.
Why is it easier for older adults to become lonely or isolated?
Being lonely does not automatically lead to isolation but it is believed that both conditions can put your health at risk. Certain life events that occur more frequently to older adults, including those listed below, can have a great impact and pose a danger to their health:
- Living alone
- Losing family members or friends
- Chronic illnesses
- Hearing loss
Significant consequences of loneliness and social isolation
The CDC has stated the following increased health conditions may arise when older adults are isolated or lonely:
- An increased risk of premature death from all causes. The risk has been found to be similar to that of smoking, obesity or being physically inactive.
- An estimated 50% increased risk of dementia was associated with social isolation.
- Loneliness and social isolation was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.
- There was a higher rate of depression, anxiety and suicide associated with loneliness.
- For heart failure patients, loneliness was associated with a nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization and 57% increased risk of trips to the emergency department.
What steps can you take?
Senior loneliness is serious. If you find yourself feeling lonely or have become socially isolated, schedule a visit with your doctor or medical team. They can assess any health risks and help you connect to local resources. These organizations may also be able to provide help:
Area Agencies on Aging: A resource of information and assistance with programs
Eldercare Locator: A national service that can help find local resources for seniors
National Council on Aging: Can help find available programs to assist with healthy aging
AARP: Information available to help improve your quality of life
Consider the advantages of moving to a senior or independent living community
One solution that has made a big difference in many seniors’ lives, especially if they are confronting loneliness and social isolation, is moving to an independent living community.
There are many benefits available, but some of the most important ones to your health are the opportunities you’ll find to meet and make new friends. Most people say it’s almost guaranteed to become socially connected. But it doesn’t stop there.
Take a look at some of the other advantages you’ll find:
Senior living and your quality of life
The reason that moving into senior living can have such an immediate impact is because of all the services, activities and amenities they offer. They also make it easy to fight back against loneliness and isolation. Here are just a few ways it could make your life better:
1. Opportunities for social connections
Meeting friends isn’t always simple as you grow older. But you’ll find it natural if you move to senior living. You’ll be making friends easily with those you share interests with as you participate in the planned events and meet up in the community’s common areas.
2. Planned activities that are easily shared with others
If you walk out of your front door in your neighborhood, what opportunities would you find? In an independent living community, there are activities, classes, games and meals to enjoy with others. You’ll also find easy access to learning or opportunities to explore new hobbies.
3. Scheduled transportation provided
Have you found yourself unable to make it to the gym or attend entertainment or social gatherings like you used to because you’re not as comfortable driving? Depending on where you live, alternate transportation options may not be available. In senior living, you’ll never miss out on the fun or in getting there because they provide the ride.
4. Couples can engage in their own interests
If you and your spouse enjoy different activities, senior living has you covered. A great benefit of communities is that they provide enough of a choice of activities to appeal to both members of a couple. You can each pursue your own interests and come together again to share what the day brought.
5. Exercise for the body and mind
Staying physically and emotionally fit makes a great impact on your overall health. Exercise is beneficial not only for your body but can also be a great answer to ward off anxiety and depression. And it’s easy to find in an independent living community. Staying active both physically and socially may not only increase longevity but your quality of life as well.
How Ingleside at Rock Creek Independent Living can support your best life
Our priority is to provide the opportunities to support you living an engaged life. We think you’ll find everything you need, from our first-class fitness and health facilities, nutritious and delicious chef-prepared meals and an almost endless list of cultural and social options. And meeting new people and building meaningful relationships will add joy to your days.
Other advantages you’ll find at Ingleside at Rock Creek Independent Living community, include:
- Community center
- Card/game room
- Social, recreational and educational programs
- Planned activities and scheduled off-site trips and events
And for your new home? Choose from our spacious one or two bedroom floor plans with full sized kitchens, large windows that flood your living space with natural light, safety features and underground parking.
Please visit our website for more information. Call (202) 846-2651 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.