Two senior women sitting together, smiling & chatting on a couch

Combating Loneliness in Older Adults

Loneliness is a common problem in many adults, especially those over 65. Feeling lonely or isolated from others can affect a person’s social health and their mental and physical well-being. Combating loneliness is crucial to helping to maintain good health and enjoying life to the fullest. That’s why many older adults choose to move to senior living communities. These communities offer a plethora of opportunities to help prevent and ward off feelings of loneliness and social isolation, providing residents with a vibrant and supportive environment in which to thrive.

Impact of Loneliness on Individuals

The effects of loneliness can be felt emotionally since people who report feeling lonely also typically report feeling distrustful of other people. This can change a person’s emotional health and cause them to feel emotional pain, which can manifest in the body in the same way as physical pain. Emotional stress has been linked to chronic inflammation, which can lead to chronic pain in the body.

People who feel lonely for long periods are also at risk for developing certain physical conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and a weakened immune system. Additionally, loneliness is closely linked to mental illnesses, such as anxiety disorders and depression.

In older adults, loneliness is linked to poor brain health. This means that the cognitive functions of the brain may decline, which raises your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ways to Combat Loneliness

It is important to recognize and work to improve feelings of loneliness to help prevent certain illnesses and conditions from developing. To do this, you need to focus on maintaining relationships with others and giving yourself time to socialize with others daily.

  1. Schedule Time for Family and Friends
    For those who have established social connections, it is recommended to schedule time in advance to speak with or see them. This can be anything from a time to share a meal or visit a park together. If you live in a senior living community, there may even be spaces for you to use when friends or family members come to visit, such as a green space outside or a private dining area.
  2. Consider a New Hobby
    Taking a class to learn something new, such as a sewing or painting class, is a great way to meet and interact with new people. Learning a new hobby also helps you improve your cognitive health, which may lower your risk of developing dementia. Most retirement communities, like The Buckingham, have a robust activities and programming calendar which is filled with clubs, social events, educational opportunities and much more.
  3. Exercise
    While there are many exercises you can do alone, joining an exercise class or a gym allows you to maintain your physical health as well as your social health. Many senior living communities offer classes on everything from water aerobics to yoga for older adults to enjoy.
  4. Keep Up Daily Interactions
    Talking to at least one person each day can improve feelings of loneliness. Consider interacting with your neighbors or other people you see daily, such as a clerk at the grocery store, to help you stay socially engaged.
  5. Chat with a Mental Health Professional
    If you are struggling with feeling lonely, talking directly with a licensed therapist or mental health professional can be beneficial. A professional can give you more tips for combatting your loneliness, plus chatting with the professional can give you a chance to release stress as needed.

The Benefits of Living in a Senior Living Community

Retirement communities present an active solution to combating feelings of loneliness and isolation. A continuing care retirement community (CCRC) like The Buckingham offers opportunities that may be beyond what you have now, from social opportunities to engaging programming and activities. Dining among friends, joining a game of Mahjong, attending a musical performance or taking a fitness class are among the many things enjoyed by the people who live at The Buckingham. With independent living, assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing all on one campus, The Buckingham provides older adults — regardless of the level of care they need — with an opportunity to enjoy all the activities and be among friends and peers in luxurious living spaces.

Are you interested in learning more about The Buckingham and experiencing our vibrant community firsthand? Give us a call at 713-730-2633 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a personalized tour.