Seniors are considered anyone over the age of 50. While people talk about retirement and kids being out of the house affording more freedom, what they are not discussing is isolation that often leads to depression. And yes, it is real! I recently read an article from A Place for Mom on the subject and this is what I found:
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. As people get older, their likelihood of living alone only increases. Additionally, more and more older adults do not have children, reports the AARP, and that means fewer family members to provide company and care as those adults become seniors.
Statistics Canada reports that 80% of Canadian seniors participate in one or more social activities on a frequent basis (at least monthly) – but that leaves fully one-fifth of seniors not participating in weekly or even monthly activities.
Social contacts tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons, including retirement, the death of friends and family, or lack of mobility. Regardless of the causes of senior isolation, the consequences can be alarming and even harmful.
I already knew many of these facts dealing with clients on a one-on-one basis. Even young people are starting to deal with interactive social isolation because while social media connects us in many ways- it also creates physical boundaries that are very real.
If you’re worried about someone (senior citizen or not) being socially isolated, consider the following;
1. Feeling lonely impacts both physical and mental health
2. Perceived loneliness leads to an increased risk for dementia
3. Isolation is actually linked to long-term illness
4. Numerous studies over the past decade have shown that feeling loneliness is associated with more depressive symptoms in both middle-aged and older adults
5. Caregivers for the elderly and disabled are also more prone to isolate and depression.
It is important to spot the signs of isolation within others and within ourselves. It seems simple, but asking and seeking help really is the first step to a new life. It is the hardest one because we tend, as a culture, to be taught to be self-sufficient in life. We are taught not to ask for help. This, however, is the one time when you do want to break the rules and seek out resources. Isolation is like a snowball that turns into an avalanche. Once you start isolating, the deeper you can get used to being alone and then the depression, sadness and anxiety that comes with being isolated can actually make you isolate more.
Want to know more? Are you seeking that first step? Please do not hesitate to contact me today!