Social isolation and loneliness are serious public health risks affecting many seniors in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 28% of seniors 65 and older live alone. Social isolation comes from a lack of social contact. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, despite having connections. Loneliness can affect a person’s overall quality of life and is linked to an increased risk of health issues, including depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, and dementia.
Buckner Villas is a faith-based nonprofit senior living community in Austin, Texas. We understand the impacts of isolation and loneliness on older Americans. Community life at Bucker Villas is vibrant and engaging. We strive to ensure that each of our residents is actively involved in various resident programs that keep them socially engaged and help stave off loneliness. Contact us at 844.960.5295 to learn more about community life at Buckner Villas.
Understanding the Impacts of Senior Isolation and Loneliness
Many people are unfamiliar with the health risks of senior isolation and loneliness, but researchers and others in the medical field are trying to change that. A lack of companionship and social connections leaves seniors feeling that they have nowhere to turn for emotional support, causing them to internalize negative feelings, which can compound feelings of loneliness.
Researchers are discovering that loneliness has physiological impacts similar to chronic stress. Loneliness can increase levels of stress hormones that trigger inflammation, weaken immunity, and contribute to mental health issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other impacts of isolation and loneliness include:
- A nearly 50% increased risk of dementia
- Increased risk of premature death from all causes
- Low self-esteem and limited use of healthy coping skills
- Increased risk of emergency room visits and hospitalizations
- Higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide
- Increased risk of heart disease and stroke
- Poor quality of sleep
- Greater risk of smoking and physical inactivity
Overall, isolation and loneliness have behavioral, physiological, and psychological impacts that severely affect well-being, quality of life, and life expectancy.
Combating Loneliness in Seniors
Since isolation and loneliness in seniors have been identified as significant risk factors for morbidity and mortality, new research is focused on learning to identify and combat them. Strategies to stave off isolation and loneliness and elevate moods include:
- Developing an active social circle – Volunteering, taking a class, or joining a club are easy ways to make new friends.
- Utilizing technology – Smartphones, social media apps, chat rooms, online dating, and gaming apps make connecting with friends, family, or new people more accessible.
- Adopting a pet – While not a substitute for human contact, caring for a pet provides physical, cognitive, and emotional benefits.
- Starting a new hobby – Learning something new is an ideal way to keep the brain young and be exposed to a new group of people.
- Joining an exercise class or fitness center – Besides the benefits of staying physically active, including elevated mood, there are many social benefits to joining a gym or exercise class.
- Moving to a senior living community – Senior living communities provide access to peers, caretakers, and amenities, including restaurants, community gathering spaces, social activities, and transportation to local shopping and events.
Today’s senior living communities are not simply for older adults who need assistance with care but for active seniors looking for a supportive community that offers a variety of activities and opportunities for a high quality of life.
Discover How Buckner Villas Combats Senior Isolation and Loneliness
Buckner Villas’ faith-based nonprofit senior living community is committed to providing you or your loved one the highest quality of living and care. Here, we understand the importance of social activities and connections for helping seniors combat loneliness and isolation.
Residents at Buckner Villas have access not only to an endless array of life-enriching activities on-site in our 25-acre Tuscan-style senior living community but to all that the city of Austin, TX, has to offer. Regardless of your level of care, our resident programs are designed to help you live a full and vibrant life at your highest level of independence. Contact Buckner Villas today at 844.960.5295 to learn more.