Isolation Is Highly Dangerous to Seniors

Studies show that seniors need social engagement. They might need social engagement more than just about anything else. Science is showing that, when a senior spends too much time alone, she is more likely to develop memory problems as well as depression and anxiety.

Signs of Isolation-Related Health Problems

Adult children should be on the lookout for signs of isolation-related health problems like:

  • Poor personal hygiene if your senior was previously very conscientious about showering and dressing nicely.
  • Loss of interest in cleaning and decorating her house.
  • Loss of interest in other activities that previously brought joy like weaving, cooking, or watching movies.
  • Forgetting to take medications.
  • Unintended weight loss.

Losing interest in clubs and organizations to which she was previously devoted. For instance, if your loved one is a church goer, is she still going to church virtually or staying in touch with other church members?

Depression in seniors is a serious matter because it is linked to dementia as well as a higher risk for many other organic health issues.

Causes of Senior Isolation

Seniors typically lose a lot of connections after retirement. After they quit going to the office, people over 65 lose the easy camaraderie of work colleagues. As they age, seniors often outlive their spouses, and many friends and family members.

In addition, they may find themselves the victims of age prejudice. Even volunteer organizations prioritize the young. It can take quite a bit of determination for a senior to form a robust social circle in his seventies and eighties.

The current pandemic has added to senior isolation exponentially. Seniors are exhorted to stay at home, remove themselves from all in-person social gatherings, and even distance themselves from family members. Adult children may not be able to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 as much as they would like. Jobs, businesses, and children often make self-quarantine impossible.

What You Can Do

Digital platforms, such as Facebook, Zoom, and Google duo are great ways to see and chat with seniors. You might want to set up an appointment or two every week to chat with your senior. While virtual meetings do not offer the same opportunities for touch, the face–to-face contact is meaningful to seniors.

Encourage mental stimulation. If your mother or father has always wanted to learn a language, there are many online opportunities for that. Studies also show that listening to classical music is good intellectual stimulation because of the complexity of the music and the instrumentation. Even looking through photo albums can fire up the brain.

It’s also a great idea to set your senior up with a hard-copy calendar that shows all his opportunities for social and intellectual engagement. On this calendar, you might put things like, “Chat with your grandkids on Facebook,” “attend virtual church service,” and “do the daily crossword puzzle in the newspaper.”

Elder Care Can Help

If you have not hired home care, this is an excellent time to do so. Home care agencies send over elder care individuals who befriend your senior. They also help with bathing, cooking, and cleaning, but the companionship that an elder care professional provides is often the most important service.

In conclusion, the risks of isolation go far beyond loneliness. And, for seniors, who are already at risk for mental and physical decline, social isolation may be the first item to address. Make sure your senior has several opportunities a week to engage socially with others, and consider hiring home care to bridge the gap.


If you are considering elder care in Fairborn, OH, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Touching Hearts At Home of Dayton today at 937-558-9394.

You may also like: