How Being Lonely Hurts Your Senior Parent’s Health

May 31, 2024

Seniors who decide to age in place get a lot of benefits from staying in a home that they love. But, aging in place can make seniors more likely to become socially isolated and lonely. According to research, loneliness can increase the risk of developing some serious health problems. 

If you are worried about your senior parent being lonely at home, especially if you and your siblings live too far away to visit regularly, companion care at home is a great option for your senior mom or dad. Seniors who have companion care at home get regular visits from a companion they like. 

During those visits, a companion will play games with your senior parent, engage in activities or hobbies, have conversations with your mom or dad, cook and share meals with them, and make sure that they are getting the positive social interaction they need.

If your senior parent doesn’t get enough social interaction they have a higher risk of suffering health effects like:

Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases

Loneliness in seniors has been linked to a higher risk of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The stress and lack of social support associated with loneliness can exacerbate these conditions. If your senior mom or dad already struggles with heart disease or other chronic conditions being lonely can make their symptoms worse. 

Mental Health Decline

Seniors experiencing loneliness are at a greater risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The lack of social interaction and support can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Seniors already have a high risk of developing conditions like anxiety and depression, so loneliness can increase the chances that your mom or dad could end up developing anxiety or depression. 

Cognitive Decline

Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Social engagement is crucial for maintaining cognitive functions, and its absence can lead to faster deterioration. If your mom or dad has Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Dementia, or any kind of condition that causes cognitive decline they need regular social interaction. 

Weakened Immune System

Chronic loneliness can weaken the immune system, making seniors more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Stress hormones triggered by loneliness can impair the body’s ability to fight off diseases. If your senior parent is getting a lot of colds or has had the flu multiple times this year loneliness could be playing a role in how often they get sick. 

Higher Mortality Rates

Studies have shown that loneliness is associated with higher mortality rates among seniors. The combination of mental stress and physical health issues can contribute to a reduced lifespan.

Poor Lifestyle Choices

Loneliness can lead to unhealthy behaviors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption. These behaviors further contribute to the decline in overall health and well-being. If your senior parent has stopped eating, or they eat too much, or they are making other poor choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle, they may be lonely.

If you or your loved one is looking for Companion Care at Home in San Jose, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care.

Santa Clara County: (408) 979-9990 

San Mateo County: (650) 353-9777

Santa Cruz County: (831) 480-3990


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