The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Senior Health

Loneliness is an unfortunately common phenomenon among seniors. As spouses and friends pass away and families get busier, seniors can find themselves spending more time alone. While loneliness can be hard to cope with on its own, loneliness can also have significant health effects on seniors.

If your loved one is experiencing loneliness, it is a good time to explore independent living in Bradenton, FL. Independent living offers endless opportunities for social interaction that keep feelings of loneliness at bay.

Read on to learn about four surprising effects of loneliness on senior health.

1. Reduced Overall Physical Health

When seniors are lonely, it can be harder to find the motivation to do activities alone, like getting out of the house and exercising. Staying active and continuing to exercise is a critical piece of maintaining physical health for older adults. 

When seniors are busy spending time with friends and family, their mood is higher, and they have a routine to look forward to. Prolonged periods alone can significantly and negatively impact the physical health of seniors.

2. Cognitive Decline

As adults age, it is more important than ever to pursue social activities and lifelong learning. Continuing to stimulate the brain is the best way to keep cognitive decline at bay. 

When seniors experience loneliness, it is often because they are not getting enough social stimulation by spending time with others. Persistent feelings of loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline and even lead to earlier development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

3. Increased Risk of Depression

Unfortunately, seniors are at high risk of developing depression. Declining health and the loss of loved ones often contribute to the development of depressed feelings. If your loved one is experiencing loneliness, those feelings can easily become persistent and develop into depression. 

4. Long-Term Illness

According to the CDC, social isolation and loneliness significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. Many factors may contribute to this correlation, including lack of exercise and failure to seek treatment for illness symptoms in a timely fashion.

Ensuring that your loved one has adequate social interaction can make a big difference in their overall long-term health.

Symptoms of Loneliness

Sometimes loved ones will be upfront about how they are feeling and express that they are feeling lonely, but not always. Keep an eye out for these common signs and symptoms of loneliness: 

  • Feelings of despair
  • Overall sadness
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Sleep issues

If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, explore whether they may be experiencing loneliness. 

Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

One of the best ways to keep feelings of loneliness at bay is to consider transitioning to independent living. Independent living communities offer countless ways to interact with staff, peers, and visitors, so residents never have to be lonely.

Independent living is a great solution for combating loneliness and providing supportive services to assist seniors with their needs now and in the future.

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