How Seniors Can Prevent Loneliness
It’s no secret that seniors can become lonely as they age. Whether it is from the death of a spouse, deaths of friends, or isolation due to health issues, seniors are more at risk for loneliness than people in other age groups. Studies have shown that loneliness can accelerate aging even more than other habits like smoking. The isolation imposed by the pandemic has affected seniors disproportionately, causing even more problems associated with loneliness than before.
Loneliness can not only affect seniors’ mental health, but it can manifest itself in physical ways as well. The Cleveland Clinic did a study that showed that loneliness can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, inflammation, a compromised immune system, anxiety, depression, loss of cognitive function, and increased risk of suicidal thoughts.
So how can seniors and their families cope with loneliness? The following steps have proven to be helpful:
- Keep in touch with family and friends. If you are a caregiver, make sure your loved one learns how to use technology like FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and text messaging.
- Make new friends. If your loved one lives in a community such as an assisted living facility, encourage them to participate in the group activities the community offers. Make sure they take their meals in the dining room and interact with staff and residents regularly. It is important that they develop a sense of community in order to avoid loneliness.
- Make plans for fun activities, get-togethers, and events with family and friends. Having something to look forward to will help your loved one occupied and excited for the future.
- Stay active – encourage your family member to exercise regularly, participate in physical therapy or occupational therapy if needed, and leave their room or house as often as possible. The more mobility they are able to maintain, the more able they will be to participate in other activities and social events.
A certain amount of loneliness is common at any age, but there are things that can be done to avoid the physical, mental, and emotional damage that chronic loneliness can cause in senior citizens.
ASK JAKE & MR. ANGUS
Hook Law Center: Hey, guys! What are some good tips for keeping pets safe on New Years?
Jake & Mr. Angus: That is a great question! One way to ensure the safety of your pets is to consider the type of food that is given to them and consider how they’d react to fireworks. The ASPCA has a fantastic article on this very topic. Read it here!
Emily A. Martin
757-399-7506 | 252-722-2890
Emily A. Martin is a Shareholder of Hook Law practicing in the areas of elder law, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, litigation and dispute resolution, guardianship and conservatorship, long-term care planning, special needs planning and financial planning. To date, Ms. Martin has overseen over 100 guardianship and conservatorship matters. In addition to being admitted to the Virginia State Bar and North Carolina State Bar, she is licensed to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Martin is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. She is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and Regent University School of Law. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, Emily worked as an estate planning and elder law attorney in Virginia Beach for several years.
- Elder Law
- Estate & Trust Administration
- Estate Planning
- Asset Protection Planning
- Guardianship & Conservatorship
- Long-Term Care Planning
- Special Needs Planning
- Financial Planning