February 9, 2023
There is a fundamental truth about people, they crave connection. It doesn't matter if they are introverted or extroverted, all people need meaningful supportive relationships. Some people fear old age, not because of wrinkles or health challenges but because of feelings of loneliness and abandonment, and isolation. Some studies have even gone so far as to say loneliness and isolation are more dangerous than smoking.
The good news is there are many ways of staying connected to friends and family and staying connected with the right people can help you live a healthier and more fulfilled life at any age.
1. Connection has a positive impact on mental and physical health
According to Stanford University's College of Medicine, people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem, and are more trusting. Social connection creates a positive feedback loop for physical and emotional well-being.
2. Older people are at increased risk for loneliness and isolation
According to the CDC as we age our risk of becoming socially isolated becomes greater. Illness, injury, or loss of mobility can make it harder to get out and do all the things we used to do. Loss of friends and family can cause social circles to dwindle. Hearing loss can also cause isolation from the bustling world around us. Isolation increases the risk of dementia and other serious medical issues.
3. Planning is the most powerful tool for prevention
Understanding the risks and creating a plan is the best way to preserve and grow social connectedness. The first step is taking account of your current situation. Ask yourself some important questions and create a goal. What limitations do you have? What opportunities do you have to increase your social circle? Are there programs in your community that could help you achieve your goals? Simply having a plan will significantly increase your chances of success.
4. In 2022 it is easier than ever to remain connected
Your imagination is the only limitation to reconnecting with the world. In-person, connections are possible through many community programs such as those created by your local council on aging, YMCA, or social organizations. Additionally, the pandemic greatly accelerated access to an entire universe of virtual options. Below is a curated list of resources to help increase connectivity, regardless of age or ability.
If any of these suggestions seem too far out of reach, feel free to contact us. We specialize in providing opportunities for our clients to be more connected and independent. YouMeCaregivers have a proven track record of creating strong connections and supporting healthy aging in the home. The relationship you develop with your professional caregivers could even lead to them becoming an integral part of your support system. Reach out today to learn more about how YouMeCare can connect you with some of the most friendly caregiving professionals.