Health and Wellness |
Recognising Social Isolation and Loneliness
March 15, 2019
Social isolation and feelings of loneliness affect up to 50% of seniors on a regular basis. These problematic feelings and circumstances create a negative impact on physical and mental health.
With age, it becomes more difficult to do the activities that were once considered “normal”. For some, it is challenging to get dressed in the morning or make a meal. That is why depression is a common health issue found with older adults.
There are various ways to address feelings of loneliness and social isolation for seniors. The most effective methods, involve some type of intervention.
What are the symptoms of loneliness and social isolation?
It can be difficult to recognise the symptoms of isolation and loneliness because:
- You might feel like loneliness is a natural part of the ageing process.
- You might be isolated, with few people around to notice your symptoms.
- You may believe that physical symptoms are not connected to mental health concerns.
Many seniors also find it difficult to speak with strangers about their feelings or ask for help if they need it.
Everyone is unique. That means the symptoms they see when struggling with loneliness and social isolation will also be unique.
Many people describe the experience as a feeling of sadness, grief, or despair. Some may experience unexplained aches and pains.
There may be an increased use of alcohol, slowed movement, and a general lack of motivation.
Some people report sleep disturbances when they feel lonely. Over time, this may lead to issues with chronic insomnia.
If left untreated, seniors may feel a loss of self worth. This feeling almost always leads to the idea that they are a burden to their family.
Thankfully, the symptoms described here will also begin to fade when the cycle of despair breaks.
Choosing to pursue a new hobby, such as crocheting or dancing, will encourage learning opportunities which engage the mind. Adopting a pet promotes unconditional love within the home. Meditation and family support provide help too, as does participating in social programs.