Long before COVID-19 became a global issue, the elderly suffered from a pandemic of its own: loneliness. Research from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shows that at least one-third of Americans over the age of 45 have feelings of loneliness. Forty-three percent of seniors regularly feel lonely, and forty-five percent of seniors say they feel lonely at least some of the time. Loneliness and social isolation can have devastating health effects as well. At Victoria Landing, we take the whole person into account. We know relationships matter and contribute to long-term health. We strive to keep our seniors active, engaged, and give them opportunities to live their lives to the fullest.
Loneliness, defined as a feeling of being alone regardless of the amount of social interaction, has far-reaching implications. Those suffering social isolation have an elevated risk of premature death from multiple causes, close to a 50 percent higher risk of dementia, an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as depression and anxiety. Loneliness is a pandemic all its own.
And it significantly impacts the elderly population, who are more likely to be isolated from others, especially right now.
While these statistics may feel overwhelming, there are things you can do to combat loneliness in those you love, even in these unprecedented times. Let’s take a look at ways to keep the seniors you love engaged and involved no matter where they are.
Ways to Keep in Touch
First and foremost, as a caregiver, family member, or both, you can help by simply being available and offering a listening ear. If your loved one lives far away, this may not be easy. But it costs nothing to pick up the phone and listen. Seniors often feel left out and overlooked. It does not have to be this way. If you are struggling with ways to keep in touch, we hope these ideas will help.
A great way to stay in touch with loved ones is through video platforms like Zoom or FaceTime. Naturally, this won’t be the same as a family gets together, but it is one way to stay connected.
If video calls aren’t an option, AARP has created an incredible way to keep us all connected. A Friendly Voice arose out of the need for social connections due to the social distancing requirements of this year. Volunteers with AARP will call anyone who asks for a phone call. All you need to do is sign up here.
While letter writing and packages aren’t high on the tech list, a handwritten note or homemade gift does something for the soul that technology never can. Writing a letter, drawing a picture, or sending other gestures of love to the senior in your life is a great way to encourage connection.
There are many benefits to an assisted living community like Victoria Landing, and now we are all able to see just how important a community of support is. Seniors in assisted living facilities may not have access to their loved ones, but they do have many opportunities a day to connect with other residents and caregivers. Now maybe the right time to consider assisted living for someone you love.
Loneliness is a beast all its own, and it directly impacts seniors. Victoria Landing knows the importance of social interaction. We strive to keep our residents engaged and encouraged every day by providing multiple opportunities to interact with one another. If you have questions about assisted living in Melbourne, Florida, please contact our office today!