There is a reason that “solitary confinement” is considered a punishment. We are wired to interact with our environment and even more importantly, with other people. Caring human connection is part of most of our happy moments as we grow up and that does not change as we head into our senior years.
Unfortunately, our life situations often lead to more isolation as we age. Friends die or move away to be closer to their families. We become less mobile, so we are not able to get out to the places that we connect like church or clubs. Disease prevents us from all the things that once allowed us to make connections and enjoy interaction.
You may guess that lonely seniors would be the most active in seeking out new connections, but you would be wrong. Seniors who rated themselves as lonely also were the ones that were least likely to be involved in places where they would make new social connections. Loneliness on its own is a predictor of poor health. For more information on this, read this article from AARP.
For those lucky enough to have in-town children, families often feel that it is their job to take up the slack, visiting more frequently. Those with out-of-town family, find this to be a challenge, relying on neighbors or friends to support their far away parents.
Companionship care can help: our HopeBridge care staff work to make meaningful connections with seniors as well as their families; reconnecting them with places that they miss and passions that have gone to sleep. We can help overcome the roadblocks for people stuck and can get them back in the flow of life and warm interpersonal contact.
Life is better when you have connection.