Loneliness & Social Isolation Can Pose Health Risks as We Age

Did you know that there is a 2-4x increase in all-cause mortality for those 65 and up who are socially isolated? This is a topic most people do not want to think about, however, if we don’t talk about it, we put more and more people at risk. Let’s take a look at the data. After multiple clinical trials, it has been proven that loneliness causes the following: 

  • 64% greater chance of developing clinical dementia 
  • 4X more likely to be re-hospitalized within a year of discharge 
  • ~8 years of life lost due to loneliness 
  • 33% more rapid decline in motor function for every 1-point decrease on a social activity scale  
  • 3.4 times more likely to suffer depression 

However, let’s look at the positive effects of social interaction, increased social activity, and engagement.  

  • 70% reduction in cognitive decline by those who are frequently socially active  
  • 43% decreased risk of developing a disability in activities of daily living if socially engaged  
  • 50% more food intake when people eat among company in a social setting versus those who are isolated  

According to Steve Cole, Ph.D., director of the Social Genomics Core Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles: 

Loneliness acts as a fertilizer for other diseases,” Dr. Cole said. “The biology of loneliness can accelerate the buildup of plaque in arteries, help cancer cells grow and spread, and promote inflammation in the brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Loneliness promotes several different types of wear and tear on the body. 

As of now, there is a massive shift taking place in the medical field which is addressing the importance of person-centered care as opposed to patient-centered care. Instead of just focusing on individual health episodes and managing diseases each time a patient sees their physician, there is a movement to begin looking at the person’s overall health needs (physical, mental, spiritual, social, etc.).  

Are they active, do they have friends or a support system? Do they have someone to call in case of an emergency? The psychological component mixed with their living environment and physical capabilities is ultimately interrelated to their medical needs.  

This is why it is so important to keep your loved one active. If you are caring for your aging parents, spouse, or a loved one, we can help you. We have solutions for every stage of senior care to enable them to stay socially active and engaged throughout the day.  

Whether you and your loved one need a little help at home, or daytime care and activities, we have all-in-one care solutions that can help increase social interaction, activities, and engagement.  

ActivAge Senior Care offers solutions for every stage of senior care. Our services include Daytime Senior Care & Activities, or Home Care. To learn more, please call (941) 676-3411 or visit www.ActivAgeCare.com. 

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