In a world where everyone is so connected, research has shown that society is the loneliest it’s ever been.
More so than any other age group in society, the elderly tend to suffer from loneliness the most. Whether it’s due to health limitations, a loss of family and friends or long-term disease, there are definite ways to combat loneliness in seniors.
But first, it’s important to spot the signs of loneliness in the elderly. To find out more, we outline it all in this blog…’
5 Signs of Loneliness in the Elderly
If your loved one is displaying any of these simple signs of loneliness, perhaps it’s time to consider assisted living?
1. An Interrupted or Restless Sleep Pattern
If a parent or elderly family member is consistently experiencing a disrupted or broken sleeping pattern, this may be cause for concern. According to studies, interrupted or restless sleep is a result of how a person’s time is being spent throughout the day.
If a senior is lonely and has too much time to themselves, their sleep pattern is likely to be disrupted as their days are perhaps not active enough. Find out from your loved one how they are spending their time during the day and this may offer insight into their levels of loneliness.
2. Unusual Spending Habits
If an elderly loved one has suddenly changed or increased their spending habits, this is also a red flag to look out for. Increasing their time at shopping malls, spending money on unnecessary items is a sure-fire sign they may be bored and lonely.
This is simply a way for a lonely senior to try and compensate for a lack of meaningful social interaction they may be craving.
3. A Loss of Appetite and Change in Eating Habits
A loss of appetite is closely linked with mental disorders such as depression, which can ultimately be brought on by loneliness. If your elderly parents or a loved one is eating less, neglecting their diet or refusing to eat at all, severe loneliness could be at play.
4. Inconsistent Communication
If your elderly parent used to call you 3 times a week, but this has increased to 5 times a week or dropped to only once a week, this could be another symptom. An increased need to communicate may stem from a feeling of loneliness, where an elderly loved one is trying to reach out for company.
On the other hand, if communication has decreased this could also be a sign that they are becoming withdrawn and depressed due to loneliness. Pay close attention to an elderly loved one’s communication patterns and try to find out why they have become inconsistent.
5. Becoming a Home Hermit
This could be as a result of finding home a far more comfortable, safe space if an elderly parent is disabled, immobile or struggling with communication.
If an elderly loved one is choosing to stay at home rather than attend their regular social gatherings, loneliness and depression could be the cause.
Have You Considered Assisted Living?
An assisted living community may be the ideal solution to an elderly parent or loved one’s loneliness epidemic. These communities are based on offering daily support to the elderly in the form of medical assistance, nursing staff, and social gatherings.
Assisted living communities are exactly what they say they are, a community which offers the companionship of like-minded people.
While the initial suggestion may not be immediately welcomed by an elderly loved one, it could offer peace-of-mind for both them and family members down the line. They may resent the decision initially, but with time may come to realize that assisted living was the best choice they ever made.
Looking for Senior Living Care?
Maple Heights Senior Living, based in Washington D.C. is one of the city’s newest senior living centers. At Maple Heights we are focused on assisted living, combatting signs of loneliness in the elderly, and memory care.