The Impact of Loneliness on Alzheimer’s Risk

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Feeling lonely can significantly increase a senior’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Although most people think the causes of Alzheimer’s are largely related to genetics and various environmental factors, emotional health is a critical point to consider as well, particularly as it pertains to feelings of loneliness. 

A Lack of Meaningful Relationships Affects Brain Health

In 2011, the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly found seniors who lived without spouses or other relatives were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who maintained active social lives and strong social connections. The study concluded feeling lonely, as opposed to simply being alone, was a key risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Your loved one needs to have people in his or her life to reduce the risks of loneliness and Alzheimer’s, and the relationships must be meaningful. 

A home caregiver can be a wonderful companion for your loved one. Homecare agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Seniors Need Mutually Beneficial Social Connections

High-value social connections move beyond superficial relationships and give seniors the chance to both receive and offer help. These relationships allow seniors to communicate about things that are important to them, and they instill a sense of personal value. All people need to have relationships that provide opportunities to support others while receiving essential forms of support in exchange. 

For families living in Clearwater, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Isolation Is a Major Risk Factor

The most common form of loneliness during the senior years results from isolation. If your loved one spends too much time alone and doesn’t engage in activities that foster a sense of contentment and purpose, even the most basic social skills can start to wane. Isolation can create extreme emotional distress by undermining your loved one’s sense of self-worth. Helping your parent find social activities, such as group dance or aerobics classes or knitting or book clubs, could be essential. Your loved one may also need transportation, companionship, and other assistance to ensure he or she isn’t spending too much time without social engagement. 

Though voluntary isolation may not be detrimental to senior health, extended periods of forced isolation often precede loneliness. Loneliness and being alone aren’t one and the same. Loneliness is a subjective feeling. People who have been fairly introverted their entire lives are less likely to feel lonely as they grow older. These seniors are prone to participate in a range of engaging independent activities that help them stay busy and provide a sense of personal value and contentment. Loneliness can strike even when seniors are regularly around other people. A perceived lack of social connections and an inability to connect with like-minded individuals are some of the common characteristics of loneliness. 

If your loved one is socially isolated and you have concerns about his or her cognitive health, consider hiring a compassionate home caregiver. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.

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