The essence of being human is embedded in the interactions with others within the social structure. We talk, laugh, and sometimes even cry with others. This makes it possible to share feelings and emotions. However, everyone feels lonely and isolated at some point of time. The good thing is that often these feelings are temporary.
The loneliness and isolation may become more of a problem for seniors due to their circumstances. The loss of a spouse or a loved one, the lack of an active social life, the distance from family and many other factors can contribute to the aggravation of loneliness and isolation in the elderly individuals.
The effects of loneliness can be more serious in elderly individuals. Studies reveal that loneliness and isolation from family and friends can enhance chances of health problems such as depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. Without adequate measures, the chances of stroke and heart failure also increase.
The question is how does loneliness bring disaster in the life of an elderly individual? Interaction ensures the expression of positive as well as negative feelings and emotions. Loneliness and isolation can block the channels of expression. In such a circumstance, the individual internalises the feelings and emotions.
The internalisation of strong feelings and emotions may lead to rise in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Moreover, the unavailability of emotional support at times of need may also lead to depression. This may lead to the increase in morbidity and mortality in the elderly individuals.
The negative effects of being alone are obvious; the next question is â€“ how does an elderly individual cope with loneliness? The good news is that the identification of the problem has helped in finding out the ways to combat it.
Here are a few ideas that may help an individual age without being lonely.
Idea 1: Learn to use the computer: The Internet can be a great place to hang out with people of all age groups. It is also possible to stay in touch with your near and dear ones with the help of the Internet. You can make new friends and chat with them for hours. However, make sure you do not fall prey to online scammers.
Idea 2: Cultivate a hobby or take up a voluntary job: Whether you love gardening or collecting coins, a hobby can be a respite from loneliness. Take up something that involves others and you can become active again. If possible, you may also take up a voluntary position in an organisation to spend your time in a worthwhile manner.
Idea 3: Try something new: Whether you want to join a chess club or get a piano lesson, your age must not be a deterrent. When you become a member of a club or a group, you can interact with your peers and get rid of any feelings of loneliness. If you need someone to drive you to the club, get a home care provider for the task.
Idea 4: Get a pet: Be it a dog, a cat or even a fish, a pet can help you fight the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Moreover, taking care of your pet may become a full-time job and occupy all your time. Again, an at-home caregiver can help you with this and be a companion by your side as well.
Idea 5: Organise a party: If you cannot do it on your own, call up a home care agency and ask them for a caregiver who can help you with this. The caregiver can help you shop, cook, clean and arrange everything for the party. Invite your family, friends and neighbours or whoever you want to enjoy a nice get-together.