Over fourteen million older adults in the United States live alone, as per the report of the Administration on Aging. Loneliness and isolation are not new to older adults. Especially in times of pandemic, people suffered from increased loneliness and isolation. Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation can cause profound health implications in an older adult. Loneliness and isolation are linked to decrease mental and physical health. The National Institute of Aging claims that isolation and loneliness can lead to a high risk of depression in older adults.
Once you understand the scenarios manifest isolation and loneliness in real-world scenarios, you can spot the signs in yourself and your loved ones. There are some ways to catch the early signs of loneliness and isolation.
Are loneliness and isolation the same?
Often termed together, many people confuse loneliness and isolation as one. It is essential to acknowledge that loneliness and isolation are different. However, both can co-exist in person.
Usually, social isolation leads to loneliness. And in many cases, loneliness leads to social isolation. However, as per board-certified geriatrician Ankur Patel, social isolation and lioness can coincide.
Social isolation is referred to as a lack of social connections and contacts. At the same time, loneliness is considered a feeling of being alone and separated. People are socially active yet feel lonely at times, and they can be socially isolated but not lonely.
For example, a naturally introverted person might not have social contacts or connections. Still, they can prefer alone time, which is not similar to feeling lonely.
Signs of loneliness and isolation
Lack of social connection can often lead to damaging effects on mental and physical health. However, social isolation and loneliness is not a condition that can be easily measured.
However, some signs can identify as the person is going through loneliness and isolation, especially in older adults.
Shifts in the mood
Most older adults feel embraced by acknowledging that they are lonely and isolated. They feel embarrassed to share their feeling with their loved ones. These unspoken expressions often lead to anger and frustration. The constant mood changes and disengagement are the signs of a person going through loneliness and isolation. Often, older adult feels unheard and misunderstood, resulting in lower engagement.
Inconsistencies in sleep patterns
Research has shown that isolation and loneliness significantly affect your sleep. In adults, the sleep quality becomes poor, resulting in insomnia, disrupted sleep cycle, and shortened sleep. Some signs of disruptive sleep are waking up after sleep onset, having no ability to go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night, and spending more time in bed, either asleep or awake.
Spike in shopping habits
In older adults, the increase in spending is often a sign of feeling lonelier and experiencing isolation. Most of the time, older adults who counter mental health issues such as loneliness and dislocation spend on things they do not need. Suppose you are going through a similar situation. In that case, you might as well find internet providers that can provide you with stable internet service. Nobody likes to shop online with a slow and unstable internet connection.
The easier solution
There are several things older adults can do to combat the feeling of loneliness and isolation—one of the most positive ways to keep themselves entertained. Fortunately, in this digital age, we can access several feel-good shows that can help combat depression and loneliness. If you have a hard time enjoying free time in your life, you should start investing in the right cable TV packages. Spectrum packages offer high-speed internet service, phone and cable service that can help its customers stay connected with friends and family and keep themselves entertained.
By investing in such a service, you can enjoy your free time, keep yourself engaged, and think less about the worries in your life to reduce your mental health issues.
Several dangerous health scenarios can be caused by increased loneliness and isolation. Suppose you are going through a difficult stage where you constantly feel alone and isolated. In that case, you first have to catch the signs and then work on ways to create better physical and mental health.