Why Are Your Parents Lonely and Why Does It Matter?

Health Resources & Services Administration was formed as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The agency’s goal is to help improve health care and create strong communities with healthy residents, especially those in rural areas. In 2019, Health Resources & Services Administration addressed the “Loneliness Epidemic.”

What Is the Loneliness Epidemic?

Researchers say being socially isolated and lonely is as dangerous as smoking three-quarters of a pack of cigarettes every day. Yet, 43 percent of the elderly adults who participated in the study admitted they are lonely.

For seniors who report feeling lonely, research finds it increases the risk of death by 45 percent. Social isolation increases the risk of stroke by 32 percent and heart disease by 29 percent. These findings are alarming when you consider that people’s habits are also changing and leading to isolation and loneliness.

Why Is Social Isolation Increasing?

How can people become socially isolated? It’s not that hard. After retirement, those who left the company start setting off to enjoy their retirement plans. Some head off to new states or countries, others embrace a new life rambling around the home getting things done.

With people off in different directions, it’s easier to let friendships slide. Some people will pass away from cancer, heart disease, or some other illness. As this happens, the circle of friends narrows. It can reach a point where your parents don’t have friends left in the area.

Another common issue is that people aren’t having big families anymore. Your parents may not have siblings to rely on for socialization either. Some of the ways people were social in the past aren’t as common anymore. Pew Research finds that only one in four adults are in a community or social group.

Neighbors used to socialize with each other. Fathers went off to work while moms stayed home and socialized while their kids played. That’s not as common now. More moms started going to work in the 1970s and 1980s. The long work hours often made it harder for adults to socialize. Weekends became a time to get housework and laundry done.

It’s important that your parents do not feel lonely. They cannot remain socially isolated. You may do what you can to stop by and see them. That’s not enough. They need to be engaged with others. Your visits matter, but it’s even more important that they make friends and enjoy regular interactions with those friends.

Home care services are among one of the best ways to ensure your parents have companionship. Caregivers are more than employees, they’re friends. Set up your parents with friendship by calling a home care agency now.

Sources:
https://www.hrsa.gov/enews/past-issues/2019/january-17/loneliness-epidemic
https://academic.oup.com/ppar/article/27/4/127/4782506

If you are considering home care in Vinton, VA for an aging loved one, please talk to the caring staff at Acti-Kare of Blue Ridge. Call 540-443-6223. Our office provides senior care and home care services in the following locations including Blue Ridge, Lynchburg, Salem, Roanoke, Smith Mountain Lake, and Bedford in Virginia.

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