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Senior Loneliness and Isolation – A Growing Health Crisis
October 26, 2018 by Living Assistance Services - Senior Home Care
According to Statistics Canada, approximately 1.4 elderly people in Canada report feeling lonely. Loneliness and isolation among Canadian seniors is growing and some are calling this a public health crisis.
Loneliness and isolation are caused by a number of factors. As we age, our social network gets smaller as friends and spouses die and adult children have their own lives to manage. It’s important to point out that for many people, this loneliness and isolation can often begin as early as in their 50s, especially in those who are widowed. And with each passing year, the number of risk factors associated with loneliness increases. Risk factors include:
- Living alone
- Being 80 or older
- Having health issues
- Having no children
- Having little to no contact with family
- Changing family structures, such as younger relatives moving away
- Limited access to transportation
- Low income
Loneliness Worse Than Obesity and Smoking, According to Reports
Feelings of loneliness are predictors of mortality. According to various reports, social isolation increases your risk of death by an astounding 30 to 60 percent.
Diseases that are worsened or even caused by chronic loneliness include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Neurodegenerative disorders
In-Home Caregivers Can Help with Senior Isolation and Loneliness
Home care agencies that offer in-home health care services for seniors provide invaluable assistance to seniors at risk of or already dealing with isolation of feelings of loneliness.
Having limited mobility or limited access to transportation to get to and from social activities and medical appointments have been identified as contributors to isolation and declining health in seniors. Our willing and able caregivers are available to help with transportation to appointments, social outings, and more.
Poor medication adherence is another identified risk factor that increases with aging alone or with limited support. Our home health care services also include RN- supervised care, including medication management, pain management, wound care, and more.
Our caregivers are also available to provide companionship. We can schedule regular visits to assist with other in-home care services or companionship, which entail anything from someone to chat with over a cup of tea to playing cards, doing crafts, or going for a walk.
If you or an aging loved one would like to learn more about how our friendly caregivers can help combat loneliness, stay well, and enjoy life to the fullest, give us a call.
David Porter, CPCA
Living Assistance Services – Senior Home Care
Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors. https://www.canada.ca/en/national-seniors-council/programs/publications-reports/2014/social-isolation-seniors/page05.html
The Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Seniors (SILAS) Project: Summary of Findings and Recommendations. http://www.vancouverseniorsadvisory.ca/wp-content/uploads/SILAS_review_slides_SAC_Friesen_May_2018_Elmer.pdf