Growing up brings with it a new set of struggles that you may have never experienced before or never expected to experience. Aside from newfound physical pains (that you might have expected), being a retiree makes you deal with emotions that you have never felt before. Not working may have brought about a sudden feeling of boredom within you. However, conversations with retirees have revealed that one of the strongest emotions felt is loneliness. What is senior isolation and loneliness and why are you experiencing this? What can this do to you? What can you do about this? If these are questions that are on your mind, read on to find out about how loneliness harms your mental health.
Causes of Loneliness
Mainly, loneliness is a phenomenon faced by retirees who live alone or live very far away from their loved ones. Other factors that can cause isolation and loneliness are as follows:
- The death of a loved one living with the retiree
- Children moving away and migrating to other states
- A change in your living environment
- Your social network getting smaller
- The fear of being a burden to others
- The fear of going outdoors and suffering from an injury
- Difficulty communicating with others due to language barriers or being short of hearing
Negative Effects of Loneliness
- Decreases your physical and mental health as retirees who do not socialize with others are more likely to suffer from negative emotions that affect their mental well-being.
- Increases your risk of mortality. For retirees who lack social contact, they are less likely to seek out medical attention if any of their symptoms worsen.
- Increased risk of cognitive decline, which may result in other memory-related disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Increased risk of high blood pressure and other long-term ailments.
How to Battle Loneliness?
Thankfully, loneliness is an issue that can be resolved when you take the right steps to recognize that you’re suffering from this emotion. After spotting the symptoms of loneliness, which may include feeling of sadness/despair, loss of energy or interest in hobbies, a lack of motivation, memory problems, disturbance to your sleep schedule or neglect of personal hygiene and other routines, you can then take the steps to resolve this problem. In fact, it is an easy fix! All you need to do is spend time with other people. The increased presence of others can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness. You can implement the following routines in your life so as to decrease the emotions of loneliness.
- Scheduling regular outings with your friends and family
- Scheduling daily calls with your loved ones, especially if you live far apart from them
- Joining activity centers so that you can find like-minded friends
- Going outdoors for exercises
If the above activities don’t sound like your cup of tea, then moving into a retirement community can also help retirees struggling with loneliness. There are a plethora of activities organized that are bound to keep you engaged with the community around you!