One of the most common and least talked about health problems that can happen to seniors is being lonely. Aging brings a number of issues that make people feel alone and isolated, such as the deaths of partners and good friends, family members being further away, and the onset of illnesses that make it hard to move around. Even worse, being alone can cause a number of health problems for seniors, such as an increased risk of death, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, and a variety of other ailments.
Read on to find out why it’s so bad for older people to be alone and what can be done about it.
Loneliness Increases Health Risks
Even though the first harmful health effect on our list is pretty obvious, it shows how wide-ranging loneliness can be for the health of seniors. Simply put, loneliness has a direct impact on both physical and mental health, and it’s not a good effect.
Seniors who feel lonely and who are alone are more likely to say that their physical and/or mental health is not good. Even though doctors are still trying to figure out how loneliness affects your health as a whole, one fact is clear, and that is that loneliness is bad for your health in many ways. The older you are, the more serious this can be.
Loneliness Can Lead To Death
Seniors who are lonely are also more likely to die sooner, which is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed quickly. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that adults aged 52 and older who were socially isolated or felt lonely had a higher risk of dying.
One theory said that this result was because older adults who live alone or don’t have many friends are less likely to go to the doctor when they have severe symptoms because they aren’t told to and have no one to be responsible for them. By the time they do go, it may be too late to help them. This is just one of the many reasons why it’s a good idea to consider a care home such as Signature at Caversham to prevent this from happening.
Loneliness Can Increase The Risk Of Age-Related Cognitive Conditions
Loneliness is an emotion – but it’s also a mental condition with several negative effects on a person’s emotional health. The most obvious signs of these effects in older people are depression, memory loss, and the onset of degenerative cognitive ailments. Numerous studies have found that being lonely increases someone’s chances of developing cognitive issues, especially among older adults.
Loneliness Can Increase The Risk Of Depression
One of the most obvious effects of being alone is that it changes your mood. No matter who you are, being alone always makes you feel bad. This includes, but is not limited to, unhappiness, pain, numbness, and a low sense of self-worth.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that adults and seniors who feel lonely are more likely to have signs of depression. This suggests that feeling lonely may be a factor in the development of mental health problems such as depression or may make mental health problems worse in people who already have them.