Older adults are at a higher risk than any other age demographic for experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation due to specific factors that affect their age group. The loss of friends and family, living at a distance from loved ones, age-related changes to vision and hearing, and other health conditions can lead to feelings of loneliness or senior isolation.
However, noticing the signs of senior isolation can be challenging, as many indications are subtle and can be overlooked. Regularly checking in with your loved one and being aware of these - and other - warning signs can ensure they are leading a full life.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, we provide exceptional assisted living services throughout Atlanta, Georgia. We’re dedicated to providing the resources and information you and your family need to promote healthy aging. Below, our team is sharing three warning signs of senior isolation.
1. Withdrawing from Social Life
Everyone has days where they’d rather stay home, but this can become a pattern for older adults who lack routine social activities, leading them to withdraw from their social life altogether.
Unfortunately, a lack of social connection can be common for older adults, especially those who live alone. As a result, the longer a person goes without social connection, the more likely they are to experience senior isolation, leading them to withdraw from the few opportunities they may have to engage with others.
2. Changes in Routine
If a person is experiencing senior isolation, it’s common for them to retreat from their typical habits and daily routines, including:
Changes to Eating Habits
Appetite changes or a loss of appetite can be expected with age due to the slowing down of the digestive system and the hormonal transitions that occur over time. However, if someone you love’s eating habits have significantly changed, it could be a sign of senior isolation. In addition, if a loved one is showing significant weight loss or weight gain, it’s important to speak to a healthcare provider.
Inability to Complete Basic Tasks
When senior isolation impacts a person’s routine, even the simplest tasks can be overwhelming or unmanageable. This can include things like regularly taking out the trash, paying bills on time, or cleaning the kitchen after cooking a meal.
Isolation can often lead to changes in self-care practices that could become regular bad habits over time. This includes neglecting the need for physical activity, bathing or showering - either excessively or not routinely enough, or simply not putting the time and effort into their appearance as they usually would, as they feel there’s no reason.
3. Changes in Behavior
There’s nothing worse than being on the receiving end of a hostile conversation with a friend or family member. If you’ve noticed your loved one consistently becoming aggressive or combative in their demeanor, it could be a sign of senior isolation.
Remember that this change in attitude, while uncomfortable and upsetting, is due to the feeling of lack of support and that their emotional needs are going unmet. Aggression and hostility can manifest as a response when a person goes for an extended period without talking to someone or feeling disconnected from friends and family.
In these moments, ask your loved one to explain where these feelings stem from, and to show your support and love, ask them to tell you the ways that they want you to show up for them regarding communication, planned events, or in-person visits so that you can continue to help them combat feelings of senior isolation and become a more robust provider of support for them.
How Can Atlanta Assisted Living Help?
Brickmont Assisted Living understands the severity of senior isolation and how detrimental it can be to a person’s general wellness. This is why our dedicated team provides compassionate support and creates opportunities every day for social activities, special events, and connections between residents, team members, and guests.
If you’re interested in learning about Brickmont Assisted Living and the senior care services we provide throughout the Atlanta area, contact a member of our team today.