Did you know that loneliness among older people has been regarded as more dangerous than obesity? Researchers have found that loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity and has a devastating impact on the lives of those who are older. During the six-year study, people aged 50 and over are almost two times more likely to die than those who were not lonely. If you have elderly relatives or neighbours then now is the time to connect and get them out and about.
Social contact tends to decrease due to retirement, death of family and friends and lack of mobility. Whatever the cause of isolation, the consequences are alarming. People who live alone or do not have a connection to their community can be at greater risk of death if a serious problem occurs because there are less people to help and get them medical attention.
Poor mental health is also a result of isolation which is why it is very important to connect older people with social resources, community groups and even delivery services for food. Poor cognitive performance can also occur and lead to a rapid decline in cognitive ability. Humans are a social species and when we are not being stimulated and using our brains, the physical and neurological consequences can be staggering. Even going to bingo twice a week is enough to keep our brains active and also provides the social element that we all need. A mobility scooter can provide a way out of getting someone out and about. For Mobility Scooters Bristol, visit a site like https://www.pearcebrosmobility.co.uk/
Diseases such as chronic lung disease, depression, arthritis and mobility disorders have all been linked to social isolation. When someone is isolated, they tend not to get the care and attention they need. They may not be able to access their own services, or even set up their treatment. For those who stay at home, it is very important that they receive phone calls and visits. Depression is a big problem with people who do not have anyone to talk with and it’s important to catch these symptoms if you are worried about a loved one or neighbour.
High blood pressure is another problem that can occur as there seems to be a direct link between loneliness and increased systolic blood pressure. The rise is independent of things such as gender, ethnicity, race and lifestyle. Early intervention can help to prevent this from creating healthcare complications.
Isolation can also occur as a result of geographical remoteness. Elderly people living in rural communities are at a higher risk of loneliness and their location may prevent them from accessing benefits and services more readily available in urban areas. These are the people who need to be referred to community groups, programme activities and transport services to help them live a life that is more social and independent.
As life expectancy extends past the point where some people feel they can no longer drive, having access to convenient public transportation becomes important. We can all do something to help someone we know, even if it only to offer a ride to the supermarket and have a chat on the way there and back. You will be surprised at what a difference it can make to a person.