Loneliness Can Lead to Depression

Can the lack of socialization and social support really effect an elder’s overall quality of life? How important is social support as a person ages?

Elderly clients of Home Care Partners are provided personalized, private-duty homecare services. While our day staff may be attending to many daily household chores and responsibilities, many seniors prefer to be left alone. This does NOT mean they prefer isolation. Some personalities are quiet, and enjoy watching TV, reading, knitting, and napping during their days at home. These seniors welcome helpful staff in their home – assisting with chores such as laundry, scheduling, medication reminders, and meal preparation. While they may be content with their household life, these seniors enjoy the presence of our homecare staff in their home.

 

Other clients may be more active, and enjoy getting out to visit friends, run errands, shop, participate in Senior Center activities, and visiting nursing homes. They also enjoy the companionship of our staff when running out to Walmart for shopping, or the local pharmacy for medical items. Some enjoy simply sitting in the local mall, watching people and families as they shop.

 

Most seniors do not, and would not, choose isolation and loneliness versus spending time with “people presence” or care companions. Loneliness can lead to boredom, which can lead to depression.

 

Lack of socialization and/or accompanying social support can have a negative impact on an individual’s health and well being, especially our aging population. Those seniors with consistent social support from friends, neighbors, family, and care staff are testament to the positive aspects of social support which contributes to the psychological and physical health and wellness of our elderly. Social support from others can be important in defeating psychological problems such as depression and anxiety, along with some stress reduction.

Many leisure social activities can contribute to an elder’s psychological well-being. Activities for seniors may include reminiscence groups, journal writing, book readings or book clubs, group exercise, singing groups, etc. Occasionally, I speak at a local senior social club. All the attendees come by for snacks, coffee & refreshments, and for the enjoyment of something to do every Wednesday afternoon. They raffle off lottery tickets, listen to music, and visit with other neighborhood seniors. There is a comradery amongst this group of volunteers…all participate in planning, room set-up, and clean-up!

Adult Day Care Centers

 

Another, more structured, daytime senior program is available for seniors who attend an “Adult Day Care Center”. Adult day care is a program in which activities are provided to promote social support and health services to an older adult during the daytime. Most centers operate Monday through Friday during daytime hours. Social support services can consist of musical entertainment and singing groups, group games such as cards, bingo, gentle exercise, discussion groups (books, films, current events), holiday/birthday celebrations and local outings. Not only are these social activities provided, but participants of the program can also develop lasting relationships with staff and other participants. These facilities may also provide meals and health services for seniors. Check in your local phonebook or with your Senior Center — there may be an Adult Day Center near your parents!

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