Feelings of isolation or a disconnect from others can affect anyone but are usually short-lived. These feelings, while brief, are not typically cause for alarm. However, lonely seniors may experience a mental and physical decline, especially if the feelings of loneliness go unchecked. While loneliness is not always apparent (even the senior may not recognize it), there are warning signs adult children can look for to determine whether their aging parent needs assistance.
If your loved one is more tired than usual or complains of poor sleep, they may be experiencing loneliness, especially if this is a new trend. Be sure to talk with them about any stressors or changes in their daily habits to determine the cause better. Research suggests the more lonely someone feels, the more fragmented their sleep may be.
A Changing in Spending Habits:
If a senior parent has started buying more material goods than usual, they may be compensating for lack of social connections. Studies show that lonely people increase their buying habits because they are looking for something to do.
As we age, changes in eating habits are regular; however, if a loved one is eating less than expected, they may be experiencing loneliness. Talk with your senior parent to rule out other health problems that may be related to this change.
Changes with Friends and Neighbors:
Sometimes friends and neighbors move away or become less available for social interaction, creating feelings of nostalgia for seniors. This may be another warning sign of loneliness in that the senior parent is no longer able to spend time with friends in the way they once could. Ensuring that your loved one has opportunities for social interaction is critical for mental and physical health.
Increased Time at Home:
Whether due to mobility issues, a loss of driving abilities, or a lack of things to do, seniors may find themselves spending more time at home without the company of family or friends. Being home alone frequently may lead to feelings of loneliness. When this is the case, encouraging the senior parent to get out of the house and interact will do wonders for their mental health.
A Change in Phone Patterns:
If you notice a change in the frequency in which your senior parent calls, whether more or less, this may signal feelings of isolation. Reaching out to loved ones via phone calls more often is an obvious sign a senior is seeking more interaction; however, a decrease in phone calls, though less noticeable, may also be an indicator of loneliness.
A Loss of Mobility:
Mobility issues may also mean a loss of social connection. Difficulty moving around makes it more challenging to interact with others. If your senior parent cannot get around like he or she once did, talk with them and a doctor to discuss solutions and make improvements to your loved one’s quality of living.
Loss of Driving Abilities:
Driving takes us where we want to go, so a loss of driving capabilities can limit seniors from leaving their homes, interacting with family, and experiencing social gatherings. If your loved one can no longer drive, the responsibility may fall to adult children or other family members. While this may create stress for the family, it may also generate worry on the senior’s part. He or she may not want to burden the family with requests to drive them places.
Let Deano’s Senior Transit Help
Loneliness is a growing epidemic for seniors. It is not always easy to spot the warning signs; however, ensuring that your senior parent can still attend social gatherings, visit with family, and accomplish typical daily routines provides him or her with the opportunity to live a fuller life. We have made it our mission to provide safe, comfortable transportation for seniors while easing the burden this responsibility may create for family members. Request your ride with us today!