Senior Isolation Is A Health Issue
September 28 is Good Neighbor Day 2018 and the AARP Foundation has invited us all to make it an opportunity to come together and celebrate our neighbors. According to AARP, “studies show that isolation and loneliness are as bad for your health as smoking or obesity – especially if you’re over 50. Isolation is more than being alone. It’s the result of being disconnected from support groups of family, friends and community.”
Risk factors for isolation tend to increase as we age and include things such as: chronic health conditions, cognitive challenges, hearing or vision loss, limited mobility, limited transportation options or being a caregiver for someone with a serious condition. Those who aren’t facing these challenges can help to reduce their own isolation and that of others who are more limited by being a good neighbor all year round. It is a healthful boost to all.
Some steps to maintain and strengthen our ties to family and friends, expand social circles and become more involved in the community around us include:
- Knock on an older neighbor’s door and say hello.
- Invite your neighbor over for coffee or tea.
- Organize a potluck with several of your neighbors.
- Ask your neighbor to join you for a walk.
- Invite several neighbors over for a game night.
- Seek out a volunteer opportunity to help your neighbors in need. Some opportunities at Springwell for volunteers include Friendly Visitors who spend one or two hours a week visiting an elder, sharing a hobby, preparing a snack, being a friend; Nutrition Volunteers who help at senior luncheon sites welcoming guests and serving food; Shopping Assistants who shop for seniors or accompany them to the store and Medical Escorts who assist elders in getting to and from medical appointments and the hospital.
- Surprise a caregiver with a small treat to brighten their busy day or offer to take care of an errand for them while doing your own errands.
- Visit your local senior or community center to get involved in a fun group activity.
Senior isolation is a real and growing problem in our shared communities. Every day, through our Home-Delivered Meals, Home Care, Protective Services,Caregiving, and Volunteer services, thousands of seniors see or hear from a friendly, compassionate Springwell staff member or volunteer. Learn more about how you can help reduce isolation for seniors who are suffering.