A recent article by the New York Times referred to social isolation as a ‘silent killer,’ worse than cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity. What’s more, loneliness has been associated with increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body, which increases the risk of conditions such as cognitive decline, early mortality, heart disease, alcoholism, depression, sleep difficulties, and clinical dementia. So it is not just a heartbreaking scenario; it is deadly.
Now, with over 5 million people over 65 in long term care currently, the predominance of the problem is shocking. Taken all together, this is somewhat half of the population in many long term care homes. So what can you do? Here are a few ways you can mitigate loneliness in your loved one:
DEVELOP A STRATEGIC STRATEGY TO COUNTER SECLUSION
Sometimes the elderly only need some push to move out of their comfort zone. If you know what your loved one loves doing, use it to create a loneliness alleviation plan. For instance, if they love singing, try singing with them or get someone to. Help them get in touch with other members with the same passion, and you will be amazed at how quickly they change for the better.
IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS
Another option is for family members to reach out. This doesn’t have to be a time-consuming affair; something simple like sharing a meal, calling for 20 to 30 minutes several times a week, or sending a card can go a long way in making your senior feel connected and embraced.
HELP THEM CREATE NEW CONNECTIONS.
Research shows that valuable new social connections are another effective counter for loneliness. A reasonable cost effective way of doing it is through letter writing. Imagine the effect of your loved one receiving a real mail letter regularly! Knowing that somebody somewhere who is not a relative cares about them is a compelling anecdote for loneliness. It is a great way to help them feel less alone and unique. Facility employees, fire department personnel, neighborhood churches, senior center members, and students are always willing to become letter-writing pals.
DEEPEN EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS
Facilities with cultures that support deep relationships between caregivers and residents also help mitigate loneliness. Also, it enhances trust between caregivers and residents and may improve the quality of work experience for the caregivers.
PSYCHOTHERAPY PLUS MEDICATION
Seclusion usually leads to feelings of distrust, self-deprecation, inferiority, and worthlessness. And this is where cognitive behavioral therapy comes in handy. Combined with medication, it helps patients develop a new perception of life and minimize symptoms of loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression. This results in positive behavior changes such as physical activity and mental well being.
WHY PARK CENTRAL?
At Park Central, the focused and talented staff will work closely with you and your loved one to create a comprehensive, effective, and comfortable long term care plan. The in- house therapy team strives to deliver the very best in senior independent living using various hands-on and state of the art approaches in Amarillo Texas. Residents are sure to enjoy a free, secure, fun, and carefree lifestyle as they pay close attention to excellent service and care. And that’s not all, the long term care facility also has:
- Culinary experts: Tasty and healthy meals every time every day.
- Wellness center: Has state of the art equipment with qualified personal trainers
- Smart home technology.
- On-site pharmacy: For the convenient acquisition of over the counter and prescription medications.
- Pastoral care with a hospital visit, counseling, and bible studies.
- Group transit: Transportation for residents either visit or daily outings.
- Grill: public eatery with fresh and made to order meals.
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Try our long term care services today; you will be glad you did!