In our recent age of quarantining and social distancing, loneliness and isolation are impacting seniors in epic proportions, and the effects are more serious than you may realize. Recent studies are brimming with the hazards of social isolation, characterizing it as a more dangerous health risk than obesity, and identifying it as contributing to a heightened risk for E/R visits, hospitalizations, and early death. For those with a preexisting health condition such as a history of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke, the adverse effects of social isolation can be even more severe.
Steve Cole, University of California in Los Angeles professor of medicine and genomics researcher, discovered that blood samples taken from older adults with underlying conditions such as those outlined above and who reported struggling with loneliness, also displayed increased levels of inflammation. He explains, “Inflammation is a great thing to have when you’re injured, but if inflammation is running all the time, it functions as a kind of fertilizer for the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and metastatic cancers.”
Perhaps even more startling, a separate study conducted by Naomi Eisenberger, associate professor of social psychology and director of the Social and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at UCLA, revealed a spike in activity in the areas of the brain linked to physical pain when seniors were intentionally excluded from a game. “Being disconnected from the rest of the world in a somewhat hostile or insecure way is the core of chronic loneliness,” she stated.
The key to protecting our older loved ones from these dangers is to ensure plenty of opportunities for senior socialization. This is where partnering with a professional home care agency, such as Visiting Care Giving Services, is invaluable. Our caregivers are fully trained and experienced in compassionate in-home care services, including providing the safe, reliable companionship older adults need, especially during these uncertain times.
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As the leaders in elderly care in Chesterfield and the surrounding areas, let Visiting Care Giving Services maximize the health and wellness of a senior you love. Contact us today at (636) 493-9058 to discover enhanced senior socialization, assistance with personal care needs, meals, housekeeping, errand-running, and the myriad of other ways we can help. To see if our home care services are available in your area, please visit our Service Area page.