How Loneliness Affects Senior Loved Ones

September 28th, 2017 by John Wilson

As individuals enter their senior years, they may find the family and friends they’ve spent much of their lives with either become too ill or pass away. This can lead to higher levels of loneliness. When individuals become lonely, they are more likely to become depressed and suffer from a number of other ailments. Understanding how these feelings impact their lives, even while in senior living communities, can help you see the importance of helping them remain social.

Functional Decline

When you’re spending time with the people you care about, you are more likely to want to get involved and stay active. However, when you are sitting alone in an assisted senior living facility with no one around, you may feel as though it’s easier to just sit around and read a book or watch television. As you become more sedentary, your body will lose some of its functionality. This can mean less mobility and more medical problems in the future.

Increased Risk of Death

Studies have found seniors who suffer from extreme loneliness are more likely to die earlier than those who surround themselves with family and friends and stay socially active. Not only are lonely seniors more susceptible to certain long-term medical conditions, typically attributed to a relatively sedentary lifestyle, but they are also more likely to pass away as a result. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, some of them with no real explanation.

Healthy immune systems are more common in senior living communities.

Senor living communities understand the importance of healthy immune systems.

Poor Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular diseases are more common among the elderly in general, but they can become a more serious issue among seniors who are living a more isolated lifestyle. High blood pressure is one of the more common cardiovascular issues for seniors who suffer from loneliness. Other studies have found loneliness increases the risk of developing a number of cardiovascular diseases, as well as raises the risk of death as a result of these diseases. This indicates it is healthier for seniors overall to surround themselves with people who care about them.

A Reduced Immune System

Even though the elderly are more susceptible to getting sick, those who are lonely are at an even higher risk. This is because they often have further weakened immune systems. This is due to not getting out as much, as well as a number of other factors. For instance, studies have uncovered loneliness changes the shape of monocytes, which are responsible for fighting against illnesses in the body.

There are many things seniors can do to help improve their health and live a more productive lifestyle, even into their senior years. When living in affordable assisted living in Oklahoma City, seniors will be surrounded by others who can help them combat the feelings of loneliness. This will help keep the elderly who reside there healthier and happier.

If you’re looking for the best way to fight senior isolation, contact us. We will help you find new ways to help your senior stay social and active.

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