If you’re involved with the care of an elderly person, you probably make sure that their medical and food needs are taken care of. But are you aware of the impact that social isolation can have on their health?
A person who lives alone, sees friends or family less than monthly and doesn’t belong to a group that offers social interaction (eg club, volunteering, religious congregation etc) is considered socially isolated – and research has shown that social isolation can be incredibly detrimental to the health of an older person. Some of the consequences include a higher risk of heart disease, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, obesity, a weakened immune system and a higher risk of cognitive decline and depression.
An in-home caregiver is in a position to recognise signs of isolation and intervene:
Signs that an elderly person is isolated:
- A general apathy to things, withdrawal
- Foregoing personal hygiene
- Not bothering to eat properly
- Significant disrepair, clutter, hoarding in the home
What you can do to help a socially isolated older person:
- The mere presence of a care worker can go a long way towards making them feel less isolated. Careseekers can help you to find a care worker to pop in and provide company for a lonely elderly person
- Encourage and help them to join a senior or community centre – many offer suitable exercise and activity classes for older persons, social events and support groups for conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Try to set them up with technology for aged people, like CareKonnect that can reduce isolation and keep an older person easily connected to family and friends.
Do remember that loneliness impacts an affected elderly person in more ways than simply feeling alone. The physical and emotional health consequences can be very damaging. If you need help finding affordable, in-home support, you can find a care worker online with Careseekers and arrange a price and a schedule that works for both of you. Our care workers are all independent and thoroughly vetted with police checks and references. We’re also an official Home Care Package provider.