We’ve all felt lonely at some point in our lives. Usually, it is fleeting and resolved rather quickly, but loneliness poses a real problem for some senior citizens. It’s important for friends and family members to reach out to each other often, especially since seniors can see increased health problems stemming from loneliness.
So, be sure to visit your senior friends and family members. If you’ve ever felt unsure what to say to your loved one to keep the conversation flowing, that’s OK. Use some of these great Conversation Starter Tips for talking to your senior loved ones. And loneliness is often worse on the weekends and at night, so be sure to send a card or bring pictures for your loved one to look at long after your visit is over (or even make a nightly phone call after dinner!).
HEALTH COMPLICATIONS FROM LONELINESS
Lower Immune System
There are many theorized biological reasons why a lonely person suffers from a lower immune system than someone happy and surrounded by loved ones. The bottom line is this: Those who are socially isolated have an immune system that is working in overdrive and can’t seem to fight off every infection and virus that comes across. That means lonely seniors have higher instances of cancer and other sickness that make them ill far too often.
High Blood Pressure
Interestingly, loneliness raises levels of cortisol in the body — the stress hormone — and in turn, blood pressure goes up. Therefore, those who aren’t lonely are happier and as a result, generally have less stress and lower cortisol levels — and lower blood pressure.
Strokes and Heart Attacks
Along with elevated blood pressure comes the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks, as well as other coronary issues. When the blood pressure is high, the heart is pumping harder and less is actually accomplished. Blockages can’t be pushed open and clots can form.
A lonely person likely isn’t having good, contented sleep at night. As a result, that person’s body doesn’t have the best chance at using that sleep for all its restorative purposes. Plus, lonely folks often have more interrupted sleep.
It’s no surprise that loneliness breeds depression. And with depression comes a slew of other less-than-ideal health conditions: Lack of care for self (as in follow up appointments with doctors) and poor hygiene (which can lead to dental problems and more) are just a few.
AMERICAN HOUSE COMBATS LONELINESS
At American House, we do everything we can to make sure your loved ones are happy, having fun and anything but lonely. Give us a call at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to schedule a visit and see for yourself all the unique activities and events we have planned in our communities and interesting facts about the nearby areas.