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The Statistics on Senior Isolation – and Tips for Beating Loneliness

Elderly Man Covering His Face

The facts around senior isolation have increasingly appeared in mainstream media. In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the elderly are experiencing loneliness at an increased rate, especially amid social distancing and isolating. But even before the novel coronavirus, a large portion of elderly folks lived alone – around 28 percent, according to the 2010 census. Even those living in nursing homes are subject to loneliness. A study from the University of California at San Francisco found that, of the seniors surveyed who felt lonely, around a quarter lived in nursing homes. 

Importantly, loneliness and social isolation are associated with increased risks for several chronic health ailments. This includes dementia, stroke, and coronary artery disease – all conditions that can significantly impact the way elderly folks live their lives. Social isolation is also linked to increased emergency room visits, nursing home placements, and hospitalizations, according to the American Health Information Management Association’s journal.

There are a few ways seniors can combat social isolation, but one of the easiest is to invest in a medical alert system. This device can connect elderly people to friends and family with the push of a button, most often for an emergency. This is a great way to ensure you stay safe and never feel alone; if anything happens, you can rest assured that your medical alert system is ready to contact your loved ones.

Surprising Facts and Figures for Senior Isolation

Senior isolation includes more than social discomfort and unhappiness. The experience can take a physical toll on the body. This can include any of the following health ailments. 

  • Increased risk of mortality
  • Linked to negative effects on mental health
  • Linked to long-term illness, like arthritis, chronic lung disease, and depression
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Increased likelihood to need long-term care
  • Elevated risk of cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease
  • More likely to engage in unhealthy behavior

In some cases, these health issues can lead to a lack of independence, which will necessitate a medical alert system and additional support.

Tips for Beating Loneliness and How Medical Alert Systems Can Help

Getting Coffee With Mother

Here’s the good news: Helping yourself or your senior combat loneliness can begin today. Usually, it’s pretty simple. Do what you can to visit your elderly friend or family member as often as possible. When they speak, be sure to listen. And, if you can’t visit, call and write as much as possible. 

If you are a senior experiencing loneliness, there are certain steps you can take to improve your situation. If you live in a nursing home, attend the activities your facility hosts. They might not sound like fun on their own, but the socializing that happens at the event will make it worth your while. If you live alone, try to build social interactions into your week, either by going to a religious service regularly, going to see movies, visiting friends, or running errands.

The easiest way to maintain independence while remaining social connected, whether you’re a senior or a loved one, is to invest in a medical alert system. These communication tools ensure that older folks never feel completely alone. While not often used for non-emergency communication, the security of having the ability to instantly communicate is an important safety net for some people. Medical alert systems can improve lives beyond offering emergency support.