Fighting in the age of loneliness – Ways to combat loneliness in the elderly

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I enjoy staying fit and for each fitness enthusiast, morning run is a routine. It isn’t different for me, as I have a morning program of a half an hour run.

After a good run, I have a habit to take a 5 min rest, checking out my another BLOG, dedicated to staying healthy, but I’d no idea that those 5 mins will turn into an hour that Sunday morning.

There was an elderly man, with a walking stick and a daily newspaper in his hands, struggling to figure out a smaller font phrase in the paper.

The conversation began with a simple’Hello’ from my side and little did I knew, it’s going to last for more than an hour.

Fighting in the age of loneliness

Today my article will talk about loneliness with the assistance of this 75-year-old man, Mr.Shyam Rajkumar. He was feeling lonely as his wife passed, his kids stopped calling him. So he chose to be proactive and began figuring out various ways he could feel less lonely.

He says, I thought, what do I do to prevent being lonely? In fact, based on Age global statistics, just 35 percent of individuals over 65, spend some time with friends most or daily. And alarmingly, 12 percent never do.

That is a lot of individuals. 9 percent of people over age 65 state they feel cut off completely from society, and half of all older individuals, around 5 million individuals in only the UK, consider the television, their chief source of business.

This is extremely sad and unfortunate for people who presumably have households. But they’ve gotten into a certain age, in which their families don’t reach out, or it becomes hard to communicate and matters like that.

But fear not, Shyam Rajkumar came up with some tips he placed into his diary he maintains. So I will take you through some of those tips because I presume they do not only apply to 75-year-olds but also applies to all people.

The first one is making an effort to create new friends.

I think when you are younger, it is quite simple to get friends. It’s harder when you are an adult and you have gotta make an attempt. Whether you’re doing sports or in college or distinct extracurricular activities, you sort of automatically, are surrounded by people who have likewise interests.

As soon as you’re out in the workforce, you are sort of on your own at figuring it out and finding your friends, adult friends, as they call them.

How have you discovered adult friends? Honestly, that’s an amazing question. The elderly person says ‘I went through a phase a long time ago, just after my breakup last year, due to which I was very, very lonely and couldn’t find people to hang with. Plus it took a period of me really, it sounds corny, but exploring myself and exploring what I was into and what I enjoy doing like riding my bicycle and studying and researching and going on adventures.

It became an extremely satisfying and very genuine relationship based on that because we had been doing things we actually cared about.

Rajkumar took time to reflect on what his hobbies were, and then he sought them out and then he discovered that there were individuals who were like-minded with him and that he could connect with.

I’m trying to think of different ways. I joined a book club, I’ve met people and took up yoga and workout classes and things like that.

It’s crucial to make yourself whole, and then you are able to meet other entire men and women that are doing this and join together because one thing you gotta understand is if you’re a complete person on your own, you do not want somebody else, whether it’s a significant other or even a best friend. You are good.

You are an whole person worthy of love and affection. So, don’t look for your other half. You already got it. That’s beautiful.

Fighting in the age of loneliness: Learn to use a computer 

Keep up on the technology, seek help from your local social services. Again, a little more applicable to our older audience members.

Use your phone more frequently to contact folks. Do not wait for people to get in touch with you. This goes for everybody. I think we get so in our minds about who’s texting first, am I just making effort? If you wanna hang out with somebody, ask them to hang out. You can text, you can call them, however you wanna get it done.

I am not a huge phone talker, but if I know that I wanna connect with someone, I phone them. As you need that instant response occasionally, and texting just does not cut it. You build a better emotional connection.

Contact relatives and friends that you have not spoken to recently. This is logical. Most of us have neighbors, be a little bit more neighborly.

Fighting in the age of loneliness: Do voluntary work if you are able to

Mr.Shyam Rajkumar continues,’I believe volunteering is something that we should be pursuing at this time, no matter if you’re attempting to make friends instantly. We need to return to society a little bit more by getting more involved and you might meet amazing people doing this.

I met great folks when I had been performing the Women’s March. I volunteer annually in this big charity event that helps people who have been domestically and sexually abused and I’ve met people through that program since I ran into one of them yesterday.

It builds a relationship because you guys are both giving back, and it is just another activity that brings people together.

Have you got any suggestions besides finding your hobbies which you’ve found that make you feel less lonely? Reaching out to people first, do not feel embarrassed to reach out, and be more honest with people, such as hey, I have not seen you in a while. I miss you, let us go, and let’s hang out.

You want to have that human contact and it is something that everybody does want to feel. If someone isn’t benefiting and adding value to your own life, that relationship may want to be reexamined and reevaluated and it might really make you feel lonely since you are not getting that connection, and you are still hanging out with people.

That may actually be even more detrimental as there are two kinds of loneliness in the world. They say there is the loneliness, where you are isolated from other human beings and subsequently they say there is loneliness where you’re surrounded by other human beings, but none of them know you.

You feel as if you should have access to contact and communicating building that connection. I think for me when I have felt lonely, the largest thing that has helped me is not always with a good group of friends and attempting to keep in constant contact with them. But when I do feel that next portion of loneliness, I simply try to take a step back and reflect on why I’m feeling lonely, I will watch this movie by myself because I really can do this activity by myself.

We’ve got a natural need to get in touch with others, to find joy in relationships with family and friends but maintaining social connections is hard as we grow older. How am I going to live the rest of my life? What do I want?

Totally isolated, everything’s built for isolation and loneliness, really. Many adults who are 65 years and older, experience social isolation. That is nearly three hundred thousand people. 14% report rarely or never getting social and psychological support. 48 percent of older adults experience solitude and isolation. – This is a significant amount of people.

We need to address that. – One never believes about isolation and isolation until you end up on your own. Researchers say loneliness is hazardous to physical and mental health, and may even cause early death. – Loneliness is significantly more important than diet. It is as damaging as cigarette smoking.

15 cigarettes a day would be the equivalent of isolation, concerning the health risk which you put yourself. Studies show that feelings of loneliness raise the risk of death by 26% and not necessarily by natural causes.

On an annual basis from the U.S., we lost close to seven thousand older adults to suicide. With the baby boomers moving mature, our numbers are still gonna grow.

There is an urgent drive to discover new, reliable ways to measure loneliness and isolation and to intervene before the damage is done.

We saw big differences in depression, stress, better sleep, therefore, what we wanna do is really correct those matters, so that if we could reach out to people, maybe we can actually prevent a few of those things.

The problem is that social isolation has grave consequences for health. Studies show it can be equally as bad for you as smoking and nearly twice as dangerous as obesity.

What can we do to stop ourselves and our nearest and dearest from getting pulled from the neighborhood? As our population ages, we will need to think about the kind of community we would like to live in and what it will take to create it.

Shyam Rajkumar retired after a 35-year career in the automotive sector. It just wasn’t possible for me to attempt to work and look after her since we did not have family members.

That’s exactly what I liked doing, taking care of this woman who’d been in my entire life for the last 50 years and she’d stuck beside me when I was down.

Payal, his wife, died in 2017 and Shyam abruptly found himself without an obligation, no plan, and few relationships. After she passed, she had families and friends that come around, and they encourage you, and as the days go by and the weeks, after a while you find yourself alone and that’s when the reality sets in.

She is not coming back. You’re alone. That is when you find yourself knowing what loneliness is and what isolation is.

Loneliness and isolation are powerful words in our society. But isolation and loneliness are often misunderstood and misconstrued when it comes to clinical and social functions.

Experts are working to locate the danger and identify the consequences of what’s now considered a public health hazard. Western nations, particularly, have been looking at that for many decades since the older population becomes more isolated from the overall populace.

For example, retirement. A lot of times, that reduces one’s social circle. Of course, the death of a partner or family members, other pals. Of course, we have environmental factors, which might be residing in remote places, or we do not have adequate transportation, or perhaps handicap, or health issues.

Remember Brooks, the library man committing suicide in the famous movie ‘ The Shawshank Redemption’? Because he was institutionalized for more than 40 years in prison and he could not bear the change, which the outside world brought into his life.

Loneliness is much more of a subjective feeling and it has a lot to do with a person’s perceived social connections and connections in comparison with what they desire so that if someone needs social contacts but doesn’t have them, that’s understood as solitude.

Dr. Arvind Ojha is a Surgeon and the mind of clinical psychiatry at IILS Medical Center. His patients are mostly older adults. While anybody at any age is at risk for loneliness, He indicates we should pay additional attention to older adults.

The older population is more vulnerable to fighting in the age of loneliness. There is less they can do about it but the fact is, loneliness is an issue even with younger people.

In other words, social isolation can lead to loneliness, which can result in health problems, both physical and mental. If you’re alone, you’ll have an elevated incidence of heart disease, you will have an elevated chance of stroke, increased risk of premature death also increases dementia, also reduces your cognitive capability.

The root cause isn’t simply living alone, though that is a risk factor for social isolation and loneliness, many older adults live independently, aging in place, whether by choice or circumstance.

A whole lot of older individuals will fight tooth and nail to not come and live with family, or even to go into assisted living, or some other sheltered housing. In some cases, that ends up creating isolation or at least a physical separation from family.

Studies show that while living alone may put older adults more in danger for fall-related accidents, household accidents, medical errors, and other safety issues, their risk for solitude is much more complicated to determine, and not just associated with living independently.

For many individuals, they might have a real little social networking but they might not necessarily feel lonely.

They may enjoy being and living in a remote place. A lot of people do like to live in a very private sort of lifestyle. We know, too, that we may be isolated although we live around people.

It is not necessarily, the number of individuals that we have, but how much meaningful relationships we’ve matters.

To put it differently, someone could be lonely but not isolated, or isolated but not lonely. So how widespread is social isolation? Some foundations have an isolation staff whose focus is to research, examine, and make recommendations associated with isolation and loneliness among adults ages 62 to 91.

I wanted to find some sense of what that really looks like, how many people are we talking about? And so, this poll indicates that most people over 50 don’t experience loneliness or isolation, but nearly 30% do occasionally feel isolated and expertise loneliness, and 20% state they do that on a regular basis.

This is a considerable number of individuals. We will need to deal with that. The study found that certain traits are linked to social isolation. They include physical impairments like hearing loss and absence of freedom, emotional problems like depression and dependence, and numerous social challenges.

Any men and women who might find themselves in a vulnerable situation or not have other people like them about in larger numbers can definitely feel isolated and lonely.

Researchers say men exhibit additional features of loneliness but women are more likely to describe themselves as lonely. For instance, a 75-year-old Shyam Rajkumar discovered that retirement and relocation were isolating adventures, despite best efforts.

He moved here from Australia due to granddaughters and he found this little home, and it was really adorable, and he fixed it up, and he’d ballroom dancing and attempted to find a temple that he liked. It just felt like there was not a place for him.

‘I have a spiritual advisor and therefore, I was speaking to her, and I said, you know, I’ve got my home all fixed up as I like it and I’m still lonesome. He also struck an unexpected cultural barrier to making social connections. You will find career women but they are performing their career, and you will find married women who are busy with their own families, then, there are married women who don’t want you everywhere around their own husband.

Shyam’s humor hints at an important trend among the elderly that affect isolation. Older women outnumber older men by a ratio of five to two by age 85 and most elderly guys are married, but many older women are not.

As we’ve got people living longer and longer, they are vulnerable to medical conditions which limit their capacity to connect with people and also the capacity to get about their communities.

Individuals over 85, which is the largest growing segment of our entire population, and particularly the women, they outlive the men. They are those that end up with this problem of loneliness.

The connection between loneliness and poor health is well recognized but how it happens is not as apparent.

We believe that isolation raises stress-activated feelings and there are other inflammatory factors that were studied, so what you have got is that this subjective symptom of loneliness which causes medical condition and departure.

The threat extends to those who treat older adults, health professionals. A lot of times, folks don’t realize they are isolating themselves since they figure, I have somebody in the home, I’m speaking to them, but when they look at their lifestyles before they were at the caregiving situation and think about all of the times they moved from the house for supper with friends and activities with their faith community, being able to visit the supermarket and not need to be home within one hour.

The guilt that caregivers may feel since they are leaving that person is enormous. They get so concerned for their health, they don’t sleep too and so, therefore, their entire body gets run down, and then they get sick, and they can not take care of them. What if something happens and they have to have surgery, and I am laid up for two months? Who’s gonna take care of either among us?

Researchers state between 40 and 70 percent of family caregivers experience symptoms of depression, which is linked to isolation and loneliness.

Caregivers do not recognize they were socially isolated until they are not in that caregiving situation anymore, prepared to go back in the world, and their friends might have moved off, the bands they participate in a shift.

There is a growing interest and necessity for tools to recognize and quantify isolation in older adults.

These are the scales which have helped us understand the powerful connection between isolation and these healthcare outcomes like premature death, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss.

In case the isolation generates, particularly, a mental health reaction in terms of depression, oftentimes, they might not eat, they may not go out socially, and that sort of thing, so it reduces their general wellbeing.

Many older adults who die by suicide have recently visited a primary care doctor. 20% on the exact same day, 40% within a week, and 70% over one month of their suicide. – When we consider our older adults, they’re more inclined to see a primary care physician than going to see a mental health physician.

We’ve got to have the ability to educate the neighborhood of the warning signs. Talking about suicide, death, or being a burden. Preparing a will or closing agreements. Giving away prized possessions.

The same lady is decided to be better prepared as she ages for the possibility of loneliness. It is extremely important to see that the mind a part of your physical being, just like your heart, your lungs, your liver. It’s the fundamental system for everything that moves inside you, if there’s something wrong within your mind, it is treatable.

When doctors and physicians look at sickness, are’you alone’ is much more significant than that which is your cholesterol and just how much are you walking? I think we need to begin understanding and attending to those variables in medical care

Fighting in the age of loneliness: Should spend more time on social media platforms

The effect of social relations in preventing premature death is documented in a massive research project at several universities these days. They found that being socially linked, lessens the risk of premature death by 50% and simply thinking about a supportive individual lowers stress reactions.

If folks are isolated, just how can you connect with the men and women who are going to understand you, who are likely to be connected with you personally?

One solution may use digital technology to lessen social isolation. They say I am gonna speak to somebody else. That kinda made me angry and mad. Researchers are testing a social networking platform with those who have developmental disabilities, yet another high-risk population for social isolation.

Our folks already have a greater risk for depression, anxiety, health issues, so what we want to do would be actually correct those things so that if we can actually reach out to individuals, maybe we can actually prevent a few of those matters.

The other thing is parents are caring for those children. They do not move away, they live at home, therefore parents are also incredibly isolated, therefore if we can actually help get the child more connected socially and reach out, then maybe the parents will not be so stressed.

So, using some of those de-escalation terms and techniques would probably be extremely helpful. Early results indicate that participants are somewhat more socially engaged and also this kind of intervention could assist different inhabitants.

Thus, for people that are older, I believe the idea that if you could connect, and I think things like FaceTime and Skype, and we already know that for some of our older adults, if they can discover those strategies to link, maybe there is not somebody faces to face.

A recent study found that online use was correlated with reduced degrees of isolation among residents of independent and assisted living centers, and encouraging older adults to start utilizing the internet to communicate with others might help to boost social contact and lessen loneliness.

The more we’re learning about isolation, we’re realizing that we can do something about it and the quantifiable aspects are things such as, are you engaged with a social group at least once every week? Have you got more than three or four buddies? Are you continuing to be active in your area? Are you really going into the library and the senior center? Are you staying as involved as you possibly can be? And if not, then you can change that at any stage in your lifetime.

For some aging adults, the first step in preventing isolation is choosing to reside in a neighborhood designed and built for bringing people together.

You will find three generations in a family. The houses were all along the sidewalk. There were large porches out front. Just highly structured for the social link. Think about that just for an instant. All our societal ills, habits, crime, and disorder, could be removed by the way we construct our surroundings.

Mr. Rajkumar adds ‘Old age isn’t an issue. It is a point of life and that I did not have any idea that it could be as joyful as it is. I am happier now than I have ever been’. Friends. Indeed, are really important and a massive factor in protection in the problems of health disorders with lonely people.

We could hire people but they are not friends. I mean it might help to have a visiting nurse, a visiting social worker, whatever, but there is nothing like a fantastic buddy who comes to see you, and thus, how do we create communities in which friends can associate, stop by, go to the grocery store for them, how do you do?

Every living creature needs to share their life with someone else.

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