Page 26 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - December 2016 - 23-12
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Page 26
Senior Times - December 2016
Calhoun County’s ONLY Authorized Armstrong Dealer
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has launched
a national campaign, in collaboration with the AARP Foundation, to spread the word about the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness affecting millions of older Americans. Older adults who describe themselves as lonely have a 59% greater risk of functional decline and a 45% greater risk of death.
Annually the Eldercare Locator pres- ents a Home for the Holidays Campaign developed to encourage discussion of important issues affecting older Ameri- cans at a time of the year when family and friends often gather together. This year's campaign features a consumer brochure, "Expand Your Circles: Prevent Isolation and Loneliness As You Age." The com- plete brochure can be found at www.n4a. org/Files/Isolation%20BrochureFINAL. pdf. In the brochure you can find a self as- sessment checklist to help evaluation risk for isolation. Below are pieces of informa- tion pulled from those pages.
It is estimated that one in five adults over age 50 are affected by isolation, a problem that has been associated with higher rates of chronic disease, depres- sion, dementia and death.
Sometimes it takes effort to stay con- nected. You may have noticed that your loved one’s social engagements have decreased or that they have gone days or weeks without speaking to or interacting with others. It never hurts to take stock of their network of activities and friends and to evaluate what you can do to help them make more connections.
Caregivers, the following risk factors may provide you with clues to what to
look for should you have a family member or neighbor who is isolated or lonely. The following put your loved one a greater risk:
• Living alone
• Mobility or sensory impairment • Major life transitions or losses
• Low income or limited financial
• Being a caregiver for someone with a
serious condition
• Psychological or cognitive challenges
• Inadequate social support
• Rural, unsafe and/or inaccessible neigh-
• Transportation access challenges • Language barriers
The highest ranked risk factors for isolation and loneliness include living alone, mobility or sensory impairment and major life transitions or losses.
Here are some actions you may want to consider taking to help them stay ahead of the “connection curve:”
• Nurture and strengthen existing relationships; invite people over for coffee or call them to suggest a trip to a museum or to see a movie.
• Schedule a time each day to call a friend or visit someone.
• Meet your neighbors – young and old. • Don’t let being a non-driver stop you
from staying active. Find out about your
transportation options.
• Use social media like Facebook to stay
in touch with long-distance friends or
write an old-fashioned letter.
• Stay physically active and include
group exercise in the mix, like joining a
walking club.
• Take a class to learn something new
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