Of all the things people worry about as they get older; your social life seems like it would be low on the list, right? However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently highlighted a 2020 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM), which found that social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. Those risks may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity, especially with seniors.
Here’s what you need to know about social isolation and how senior living can help you or your loved one lessen the health risks.
Understanding Social Isolation in Seniors
Loneliness and social isolation aren’t one and the same. As described by the CDC, loneliness is the feeling of being alone, regardless of the amount of social contact, while social isolation is a lack of social connections. The NASEM study indicates that nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and over are considered socially isolated, often due to factors such as living alone, losing family or friends, chronic illness and/or hearing loss, as well as mobility and transportation challenges.
In addition to the risk of premature death, loneliness and/or social isolation can also lead to:
- An increase of almost 50% in the risk of dementia
- A 29% increase in the risk of heart disease
- A 32% increase in the risk of stroke
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide
Avoiding Social Isolation in Senior Living
When it comes to social isolation, where you live matters. At home, particularly when living alone, it’s simply just harder to maintain social connections. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that seniors who live by themselves, on average, spend about 10 and a half hours alone each day; even those who live with someone, other than a spouse, still have an average of seven and a half hours of alone time each day.
Here’s how senior living at a Vitality Living community can help:
- Community setting – You’re never alone in a senior living community unless you want to be! Friends, neighbors, and caring associates are always nearby. What’s more, our communities provide home maintenance, housekeeping, and meals so you can forget about chores. Instead, you’re able to finally have the time to have fun socializing and make the most of life!
- Social opportunities – In senior living, you never have to worry about finding opportunities to stay connected. It’s all taken care of for you! Most communities even have a dedicated lifestyle director who ensures there’s always a full calendar of fun and engaging options from which to choose – like happy hours, social events, activities, outings, classes, and clubs.
- Convenience – Everything you need to maintain social connections is right outside your door in senior living. Most activities are onsite, and we provide transportation to offsite outings. Not to mention, our communities have a variety of amenities like a fitness center, pub, restaurant, beautiful grounds, and common areas perfect for spending time with neighbors, friends, and family.