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How Can Seniors Combat Loneliness?

a person looks sad as they experience senior loneliness

While we live in a time where technology and social media allow us to be in contact with people around the world with the click of a button, research indicates that we are lonelier than ever. A 2020 report published by Cigna stated that over 60% of American adults report feeling alone sometimes or always. Loneliness can impact all age groups, but seniors most keenly feel it because aging brings multiple changes that contribute to a more solitary lifestyle.

Buckner Villas is a faith-based nonprofit senior living community in Austin, Texas. We understand the impacts of isolation and loneliness on older adults. Community life at Bucker Villas is vibrant and engaging, and we strive to ensure our residents are actively involved in programs that keep them socially engaged and help combat loneliness. Contact us at 512.580.9882 to learn more about our health and wellness programs.

Health Risks of Loneliness in Seniors

One of the most significant contributing factors to loneliness in seniors is that their social circles grow smaller over the years. While most seniors look forward to retirement, it also brings a loss of meaningful daily connections with co-workers. Friends and family members may move away, and spouses and peers can pass away.

Age-related conditions, including limited mobility, hearing loss, vision problems, or incontinence, can impact the ability to drive or otherwise impair the ability to get out of the house for social occasions. Social isolation leads to loneliness, affecting seniors’ well-being in significant ways. According to the CDC, research on the health risks of loneliness in seniors shows that:

  • Social isolation is associated with an almost 50% increased risk for dementia
  • Loneliness is associated with higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide
  • Social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of death from all causes
  • Isolation and loneliness contribute to higher rates of smoking, drinking, and physical inactivity
  • Poor social relationships are associated with a higher risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Loneliness and isolation contribute to increased rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations

Isolation and loneliness leave seniors feeling that they have nowhere to turn for emotional support, compounding symptoms of anxiety and depression. Loneliness increases the production of stress hormones that trigger inflammation and weaken immunity.

Tips for Combating Loneliness in Seniors

The consequences of loneliness can have severe impacts on physical and psychological health and well-being. One of the best ways to help combat seniors’ loneliness is by moving to a senior living community. These communities offer proximity to peers, the opportunity to make new friends, and access to 24/7 care. They have a range of amenities, including restaurants, social activities, health and wellness programs, community gathering spaces, and transportation services.

Other tips for combating loneliness in seniors include:

  • Adopting a pet
  • Joining an exercise class or fitness center
  • Volunteering
  • Taking or teaching a class or seminar
  • Connecting seniors with younger relatives
  • Encouraging visitors
  • Participating in community events
  • Joining a club, group, or committee
  • Starting a new hobby

Sometimes the best way to combat loneliness in seniors is simply to be there to listen to them. Teaching seniors how to use technology to keep in touch and access resources like virtual senior centers, online senior chat rooms, or community services is also helpful.

Learn How to Combat Senior Isolation and Loneliness at Buckner Villas

Buckner Villas is a faith-based nonprofit senior living community committed to providing you or your loved one with the highest quality care. Here, we understand the importance of social activities and connections for helping seniors combat isolation and loneliness.

Residents at Buckner Villas have access to an endless array of life-enriching activities on-site in our 25-acre Tuscan-style senior living community and to all that the city of Austin, TX has to offer. Regardless of your level of care, our resident programs allow you to live a vibrant life at your highest level of independence. Contact Buckner Villas today to learn more or to schedule a tour. Use our secure online form or call 512.580.9882.