Social isolation can be a very real and debilitating condition for people who lose the ability to get around on their own. Aging seniors are often struggling with isolation, which can lead to an increased risk of depression and take a greater toll on their mental and physical health.
Home care is one of the best assets to help these aging men and women feel connected and engaged in life once again. When people struggle with physical limitations, chronic health issues, diminished abilities to get around, who no longer drive or have the option of using public transportation due to physical infirmities, they may have a tendency to become more depressed as they no longer have an opportunity to get out and meet with friends, participate in activities they enjoy, and so forth.
Social isolation can have such effects on a person’s physical and mental well-being that the harm caused can be equivalent to certain bad habits. According to The Laconia Daily Sun blog, Elderly Home Care and Depression: Symptoms and Prevention Tips, written by Martha Swats:
- Socially isolated seniors have a 59 percent greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who do not experience social isolation, according to ‘Forbes.’
- The health effects of social isolation and loneliness on seniors is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day, according to AARP.
- Depression in the elderly is associated with increased risk of cardiac diseases and risk of death from illness, according to WebMD.
With the risk of social isolation affecting so many other areas of life for aging seniors, it becomes that much more important to help the elderly and their family support systems throughout the country understand just what home care can offer.
Providing physical and emotional support is an essential component of what home care does, but it’s not the only thing. A home care aide can also assist an aging client avoid the harmful effects of social isolation.
The Laconia Daily Sun blog also noted that exercise, connection, volunteering, and spending time on joyful activities can benefit seniors as they deal with increasing health issues and diminishing physical abilities.
While not every elderly person will be able to participate in exercise, getting out to visit with friends and family or volunteering, they can certainly spend more time on activities they enjoy with the physical and emotional support of an experienced home care aide.
As numerous health care professionals are discovering, home care offers far more benefit than just having a person to ‘support’ an aging or disabled individual in the comfort of their home.
Latest posts by Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com (see all)
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