Chronic Illness Management
Alzheimer’s Certified Staff
24 Hour Care
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Senior Care Management
Mental Health Management
We take for granted how busy and full of life our young lives are. Even in small rural areas such as ours, our lives are busy as we raise children and go to work. As we get older life slows down. During retirement age the slowing down often brings new joys of spending quality time with your loved ones, traveling, and having time to do things at a slower pace. As we age even more and begin to develop new health impairments and lose loved ones, life slows down so much that we are at risk for loneliness and isolation. I see people who are lonely and isolated every day in my career. It puts seniors at risk for multiple other problems.
Some of the seniors I see report limited visits from their children or grandchildren. The usual response is “well they live busy lives and can’t get here to see me” or “they live out of state just can’t get back as often”. According to studies, this is a modern trend of breakdown in family relationships. The lack of relationships between grandparents and their children and grandchildren has caused many elderly people to feel as though they have been "pushed to the side" and forgotten about.
Transportation becomes a huge reason for isolation, especially in rural communities. Once a senior can no longer drive, they have to depend on others to visit them rather than get out and visit others. This is especially a problem for seniors who live in the country and don’t have access to public transportation.
Studies show that loneliness and isolation contribute to impairments such as cognitive decline, lung disease, arthritis, impaired mobility, and depression. We often don’t connect how our mental health affects our physical health, but it does. Work on recognizing when someone you know might need a visit or to attend a social gathering.
Take time to schedule regular visits with your elderly loved ones. If you have small children, take them to visit. Intergenerational visits have proven to boost the spirits of our elderly family members. Children and young adults also benefit from the knowledge and wisdom that our elderly generation offers. During these visits make sure you are having meaningful conversations. Ask about their past and what they are most proud of. Ask what is like when they were growing up. Elderly people find enjoyment in getting to talk about their past and their experiences. Younger people grow from knowing about these experiences. Hug them and hold their hand. People benefit from physical touch, so think about how little it happens for a senior who lives alone and doesn’t see people regularly.
If you or someone you know is isolated and lonely, please call us at Western Illinois Home Health Care at 1-
Amanda Powell, BSW, is a Senior Care Manager at Western Illinois Home Health Care
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