Most of us recognize there are many situations that can precipitate loneliness for seniors; just to name a few: loss of a loved one, changes in health, and separation from family. Each circumstance can lead to varying degrees of sadness, lack of motivation, fatigue, weight loss, depression and can further impact other health conditions.
The epidemic of loneliness has become widespread within our society and experts believe loneliness should be treated as a health crisis because of the profound effects it can have on one's mental and physical health.
A Dutch case study followed a large group of seniors over a three year period was recently published in the "Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry" and concluded that loneliness harms thebrain and may speed up dementia. Further, it was determined loneliness harms the heart. Other various studies compiled by the "Journal of the American Medical Association" have also shown that the percentages of fatal heart disease are greater among individuals who lived alone than those who lived with a spouse, roommate or in a community setting.
It is imperative for seniors to remain engaged with strong social networks to avoid isolation.
Here are some of the many ways to fight against Loneliness:
- Staying connected with family, friends and neighbors on a regular basis
- Visiting local senior centers, which can open doors to services and resources for seniors who are dealing with loneliness and is an additional way to meet other seniors through the many activities they provide for senior interaction
- Church organizations are an excellent resource which provide supportive and spiritual help for those dealing with depression and further source of new friends and activities
- Gathering information about transportation options, as lack of transportation is a big factor behind seniors not socializing
- Learn something new; whether it a new hobby or subject matter it can provide a gateway to socialization with others
At Sterling Estates, we recognize the symptoms of loneliness and assist our Residents in socializing with their peers within the community and strongly encourage them to be involved in daily activities of interest, including music programs and concerts in house, 'Tech Talks' and educational classes, devotional programs, cooking classes, ballroom dancing, bocce ball tournaments, working in our new communal garden and "Happy Hour", among many others including group outings to cultural events. Further, our Wellness Program offers group classes in water aerobics, balance improvement, strength training, and walking outside on our many walking paths throughout our neighborhood just to name a few. We are committed to providing our Residents with a social and meaningful interactive living experience; hence, a happy and healthy lifestyle!
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