Today’s technology enables us to stay connected with people in ways never before possible. Family members can talk, see and interact with each other across the country with only a few taps on a phone screen. Yet research shows that people are lonelier today than ever before, and the elderly are the most likely group to have feelings of loneliness and isolation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. People are also having less children nowadays, says the AARP, and that means there will be fewer family members to act as caregivers.
Seniors that are lonely and isolated are more likely to decline and die faster. A UCSF study found that people 60-years-old and older who reported feeling lonely saw a 45 percent increase in their risk for death. Isolated elders also had a 59 percent greater risk of mental and physical decline than their more social counterparts.
Dr. John Cacioppo is a psychologist at the University of Chicago. He has 30 years of experience studying social isolation. One of his most significant findings is that feelings of loneliness are linked to poor cognitive performance and quicker cognitive decline. He believes we evolved to be a social species and when we don’t meet that need it can have physical and neurological effects.
Quite frankly seniors feel isolated and lonely because they are in fact alone. We have an accepted culture in western society of moving our elderly family members into nursing homes and assisted livings when they become a burden to us. This change of environment can be unsettling and is very different than what they’ve been used to. Studies indicated that being surrounded by other elderly people doesn’t always fulfill the need for engaging communication with people that can combat the feeling of isolation.
What can be done to prevent loneliness in seniors?
As a caregiver, you can provide this much-needed interaction by engaging in meaningful conversation, paying attention to their wishes and getting out and sharing experiences together. Studies indicate it’s not just the amount of time spent with someone, it’s the quality and depth of that time that truly matters.
In today’s fast paced world many people are juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job and being a caregiver to someone they love. You can become torn between your commitment to work and your commitment to caring for an elderly person. In many cases one or both areas will start to suffer and that can lead to unsafe situations, lack of job performance or emotional stress. It may seem like you’re alone in your struggle but in fact many family caregivers admit they’d like more help.
One of the ways you can help relieve your caregiver burnout level is to form a relationship with a Home Care Agency. Even if you do not require home care services on a daily basis this shouldn’t stop you from calling and establishing a relationship with an agency. When the time comes that you absolutely need help, having a good agency to use can be a huge stress relief. Whether it’s a work meeting you just can’t miss or an emergency with a child at school, a good agency can usually help even with short notice. If you’ve already established a relationship with them, they should have an idea of who and what kind of care your loved one requires.
Don’t let Caregiver burnout get the best of you, everyone needs help sometimes. Contact a local Home Care Agency and let them be part of the team you’ve created to provide great care for someone you love without sacrificing your sanity and happiness.
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People Age. People find their health and abilities are not what they used to be. Adult children may find their aging parents are struggling with the everyday tasks of life. An accident or injury may now prevent a once healthy person from dealing with the daily things we do all the time. All of these scenarios are a time when using a home care agency makes sense.
A home care agency is a service provider who can help you or a loved one out with the everyday tasks of living that may be difficult due to age, loss of mobility, or declining health. You need to look at all options before deciding to place someone in assisted living or a nursing facility. Why Go with an Agency?
When given an option, most people would prefer to be at home than in assisted living or a nursing home. While those services may be needed at some point, a home health care agency can prolong the length of time that a client can stay in the comfort and peace of their own home. In addition, home health care services allow clients to have greater privacy, with added convenience and lower costs – all designed to improve the quality of life of the client.