In the midst of a pandemic, quarantining has become a regular part of many of our lives. While quarantining due to COVID-19 diagnosis is a safe passage, complete and total isolation for seniors and older adults is not safe by any means. Unfortunately, isolated living can result in a multitude of problems ranging from mental to emotional and even physical. 

What is Isolated Living?

While loneliness and isolation might seem very similar, they have distinct differences. In order to be considered isolated, someone must meet certain criteria. Typically, though, those that are isolated also suffer from feelings of loneliness. Adults over 65 can be considered isolated if they live alone, never leave their house, and never visit anyone. In addition to this, having no close relatives or contact with neighbors also categorized an older adult as isolated. 

Being alone for more than nine hours per day and not owning a telephone also constitute isolation. Lastly, being out of earshot, or more than 50 yards away, from a neighbor can be considered isolation. Loneliness, on the other hand, can be someone wishing that they had more friends, feeling that they do not see their friends and relatives often enough, and having no one to ask favors from.

Unfortunately, seniors that do not live with a spouse or other family member are increasingly more likely to develop feelings of loneliness from their isolation and feel as though they have lost their sense of community.

Risks of Senior Isolation

Living in isolation has many risks, including health risks. Those that suffer from isolated living might not be able to access local services or programs, or they may be unaware that they are taking place. 

Isolation can increase the likelihood of lifelong health issues and disabilities. Seniors might also suffer from fear and stigma.

Isolation and loneliness can be detrimental to a senior’s health, and researchers have found that loneliness can actually be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes per day or being an alcoholic. Isolated seniors are more likely to suffer from physical health conditions including chronic lung disease, arthritis, and impaired mobility. 

In some cases, isolation leads to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, excessive eating, and over-consumption of alcohol. All of these things combined often lead to seniors avoiding physical activity which, in turn, leads to increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, and other serious and life-threatening issues. 

Mental health issues can arise, too. Loneliness and isolation are often associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

Especially in times like now, isolation can play a major role in one’s immune system and cause it to weaken. The human body needs exposure to certain bacteria and illness in order to effectively fight it off. In some cases, isolated seniors become more likely to forget things and struggle with daily tasks, and they are more likely to suffer from dementia symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, and agitation. Dementia can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation in and of itself, so combining dementia with living alone is not safe. In fact, social isolation has been proven to increase the risk of dementia by 50%. Unfortunately, many seniors go without the memory care that they deserve and are in need of because they are unaware that they are developing symptoms.

How Senior Living Communities Can Combat This

Senior living communities can work as a solution for senior isolation and all of its risks. Even in the middle of a pandemic, communities like this are trained and equipped with all of the necessary living and healthcare knowledge to protect each of its residents and practice safety and hygiene. Within an assisted living center, each senior can receive socialization, support, care, and social opportunity. Within senior living communities, it is a regular practice to host a variety of fun events, activities, and trips to keep seniors from being isolated and alone. This is a great option for seniors who live alone as they will no longer be neglected and have to struggle with common everyday tasks. Staff is always on-hand to support regular daily tasks, but they will also ensure that each resident is receiving enough socialization and feeling comfortable in their new home.

Not only will seniors be able to receive support and care, they will also be relieved of many of the health issue risks from living alone. Staff at living centers like these are able to monitor the health of and care for residents to ensure that they are receiving everything that they need. This is especially important during a pandemic. Being cared for by staff that live outside of the center is a blessing in disguise as it offers ample opportunity for seniors to build immunity to harmful viruses and pathogens. 

Pandemics Do Not Equal Complete Isolation

Ultimately, isolating seniors in a time of crisis or a pandemic is not the way to go. Isolation poses a multitude of mentally, emotionally, and physically harmful risks and each and every person needs socialization. As adults age, especially those that live alone, they are more likely to develop issues that will go unnoticed, and this can be detrimental for the well-being of the person. Senior living and care centers can provide ample help and aid in the process of socializing and entertaining older adults so that they do not have to suffer from isolation and loneliness. 

About USs

At Crescendo Senior Living, it is our belief that everyone deserves to live a great life. We offer a beautiful center that is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of each and every one of our residents. We offer round-the-clock care and optimal maintenance-free living as well as amenities, services, and social engagement in a safe, fully-vaccinated environment, so it is our hope that you will join our friends and neighbors and live life to the fullest.

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