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Independence and Loneliness: How They Can Affect Seniors

Independence allows us to learn and gain achievements on our own terms. As we grow older, we gain more freedom so we can continue to flourish; it shouldn’t stop when we retire and settle down, but unfortunately can in later years of retirement as physical or cognitive decline starts to set in. While many seniors live independently, others can benefit from home care assistance due to medical or physical limitations.

Retirees also experience loneliness due to multiple reasons. It could be because of living by themselves, social isolation, loss of family and friends, or a chronic illness. Whatever the reason, feeling lonely can take its toll on mental and physical health. There’s research linking loneliness and social isolation to a weakened immune system, heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Being lonely isn’t always obvious but by looking closely one’s behavior, there can be telltale signs that a senior is feeling lonely such as:

Poor Sleep

If a senior is complaining about having restless sleep or irregular sleeping patterns, they might be feeling lonely. Research shows that lonely people tend to have disrupted or fragmented sleeping patterns.

Changes in Appetite

There are several research studies that show isolation and loneliness can contribute to appetite changes such as lower food intake, reduced appetite, and an increased risk of under-nutrition among older people.

Increased Buying Habits

Lonely people may have the urge to buy things to fill a void, but this only creates a temporary uplift in mood or comfort. Lookout for increased buying or shopping habits as it may be a sign of loneliness.

Mood Changes

Aging retirees, just like everyone else, can manifest emotions in different ways. They can show loneliness through anger, irritation, quietness, argumentative behavior, etc. Some seniors feel embarrassed about feeling alone and they feel too proud to say anything about it. Being left out and being misunderstood can also be factors in a change of behavior or mood.

Independence doesn’t have to come with loneliness. If you see that your loved one may be experiencing loneliness, an in-home senior care provider is a great benefit that can assist in maintaining independence while providing emotional support that makes all the difference in the world.

A Sense of Individuality

In having a home health aide by their side to assist them, they can still do things without feeling like they don’t have control over their decisions. They can go out wherever they want, meet with friends, attend social events, and keep a healthier mental state due to consistency with social interactions.

Maintaining an Active Lifestyle

As seniors progress through retirement, many tend to limit the amount of exercise and hobbies that at one point kept them feeling energetic and happy. Having a caregiver around to encourage these physical activities is sometimes all the a “push” that’s needed.

Living Worry-free

Family members can also worry less in having a health aide as part of the care team, as someone is there to keep up withcertain tasks like setting appointments, taking medicine, alerting the family if groceries are needed, and etc.

Independence with Companionship

Maintaining a sense of independence among the elderly can have good effects on their mental and physical health. It gives them a sense of purpose and feelings of accomplishment. With a little assistance, keeping a senior’s independence is possible.

Unified Pledge Home Health provides a FREE consultation. Talk to them about your situation and explore your options.

Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:

  • Level II FBI background checks of all staff

  • Driving history checks

  • Companions, health aides, LPNs are our direct employees and not independent contractors

  • Constant communication to patients, family, and care team

  • Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan

Contact us today for a FREE consultation by a Supervisory Nurse at 561-910-8770.



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