Loneliness is a Major Concern Among the Elderly

February 24, 2016 | By Lorenzo Mejia

Isolation and loneliness are forcing some elderly into hospitals. People living alone without support are often taken to the hospital even when they may not have an acute medical problem. It is usually the result of a social care problem. Many hospitals are turning into dormitories for older people because they have no support or family at home. This has the ability to turn into a huge public health concern as the population ages and lives longer.
Loneliness can be more damaging than smoking according to recent studies and increase the risk of dementia by 64%. The impact of loneliness can be comparable to the same consequences of smoking and obesity. Older adults show depression, anxiety and low self-esteem when living alone. Some research has shown that depression can progress the onset and speed of dementia and its development. Many elderly do not take an interest in care because they feel no one is interested in them. Those isolated at home may not be interested in their health, bother to take medication or even keep warm because they don’t see a strong purpose.

One solution is to encourage senior citizens to participate in community senior centers and activities. Unfortunately, many of the funding for the centers has been under financial strain and it is important that they remain funded. Religious organizations are valuable for providing visits and meals on wheels. Volunteering at a daycare, school or youth center is another way to help the elderly feel useful and involved.   Overall, it is important to get the elderly the help they need from isolation so that they stay out of the hospital where they take up valuable space for acute patients which cripples the efficiency and effectiveness of the hospital.

 

 

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