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Isolation in Older Adults: Knowing the Signs

Home Health Aides

It’s a well-known fact of aging, as we grow older we are more prone to feelings of isolation and loneliness. According to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, loneliness affects 25% to 60% of older Americans.

With such a high percentage, it is important for loved ones and caregivers to be vigilant for the signs of loneliness. The following will explore some of the common signs of isolation in older adults.

  1. A Decline in Health

A major manifestation of loneliness is a pronounced decline in health. There are a multitude of scientific studies that have connected the dots between feelings of isolation and faltering wellness.

According to a 2019 article by the National Institutes of Aging, there is a link between loneliness and a broad variety of health issues. These include “high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, a weakened immune system, and cognitive decline.”

  1. Disengagement in their Personal Community

A major symptom of loneliness to watch for is if your loved one “disengages” from their family, friends, or community. It’s important to remember that feelings of isolation walk hand in hand with depression. Those who are suffering from depression lose interest in connection to those around them.

If you find your loved one scale back on family time, lose interest in taking part in community functions, or show reluctance in community settings, this could be a sign of isolation.

  1. Pronounced Change in Behavior

Isolation can manifest in a multitude of ways, but the effect always seems to be the same: your elderly loved one is no longer ‘acting like themselves.’ They have undergone some form of change that has set off intuitive warning bells that something is awry.

Your loved one can seem as if they have lost interest in taking care of themselves. They can seem withdrawn, overly irritable, or as though they are slightly removed from themselves. They have forgone relationships, and allowed daily patterns to fall to the wayside.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to acknowledging loneliness in an aging loved one, It’s important to trust your intuition.

If something seems wrong, check in with your loved one! Practice open, honest, empathetic communication to enhance a support system. Give them the space to talk about their feelings and work together to create a foundation to quell future isolation.

You can work together with your caregiving network of home health aide to make certain your loved one has the tools to combat loneliness and isolation. For more information, contact Expicare Nursing Agency today.