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Isolation isn’t good for anyone really. But it can be particularly hard on the elderly because of the significant risks that isolation poses on their health and well-being. Studies have indicated that seniors who live an isolated existence have more health issues and a higher risk of dying sooner than those who are more social. As a result, they take on more medical expenses.
So we’ve talked about the importance of senior nutrition and avoiding potentially tragic slip and fall incidents in seniors, but now we’re going to discuss something that has the capacity to impact the elderly with much greater severity than both of those combined. Having Quality In Home Senior Care is more critical than ever when a senior has been residing in isolation. Simply because a socially isolated existence is significantly more dangerous.
Living alone does not always mean living in isolation. Many seniors can live on their own and lead interesting and satisfying lives. But it’s when they maintain little to no contact with their adult children, friends, or family that living alone can start to become a life of isolation.
This existence can breed feelings of deep depression and sadness, leading to a marked inability to perform even the most basic routine everyday activities. They have also been shown to have more chronic medical issues.
Widows and widowers can have it the worst as having lost a life partner can lead to that isolation in many instances. These feelings of depression and loneliness are made worse as the emotional impact of losing a loved one can make them less likely to seek out social situations due to their grief.
Seniors who are living in isolation are also more often sick with Medicare spending nearly $2,000 more annually on members who are not socially active. These individuals are also more likely to need to receive care from a nursing facility or home after a hospital visit as they were unable to be discharged safely to go back to their own residence.
Even the hospital stay can be substantially more expensive for seniors who are isolated. This is due to the fact that they were held in the facility for a longer period of time since there was no one they could turn to for physical and/or emotional support once they were released from care.
The most jarring aspect of a senior living in isolation is that he or she is statistically more likely to pass away earlier than seniors who were socially active with family and friends. But what is more compelling about this statistic is that the isolation wasn’t necessarily the cause of the illness or the earlier death, but that seniors chose to isolate themselves because they are already dealing with an illness or condition that is more likely the cause of that death.
This makes isolation something that needs to be better defined in the senior community and identified as a way to keep the elderly healthy and happy.