Page 2 - Senior Times South Central Michigan December 2020 - 27-12
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Page 2 Senior Times - December 2020
  BUILDING BONDS OF FRIENDSHIP
By: Tim Mitchell, Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E.
  Many will remember the legendary song, Elenor Rigby, recorded by the world-famous Beatles. The song was released in 1966 as part
of a double A-side single, which also featured Yellow Submarine and formed part of the Beatles' album, Revolver. The single was released on the same day as the LP and spent four weeks at num- ber one in the U.K. It reached number eleven in the U.S. and was nominated for three Grammys.
loneliness as a condition that affects people’s health and well-being. She defined loneliness as the difference between someone’s “preferred and actual social relations,” and described its risks
to aging populations. Since then, scientists have continued to study senior loneliness.
have never talked to before. Or you may want to attend a class or event sponsored by a community organization. The Kool Family Center and Senior Health Partners are two great local organizations offering activities specifically for seniors. This may be more challenging with social distancing guidelines currently in place, but there will be more opportunities in the future.
A poignant excerpt from the lyrics of Elenor Rigby reveal an untold story of many people: All the lonely people
Health complications – According to a study conducted by Brigham Young University, lone- liness is as deadly as smoking or obesity. Also, researchers at the University of Chicago note blood pressure and stress levels are “significantly higher” in lonely people, especially seniors.
(ah, look at all the lonely people) Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Increase in unhealthy habits – According to the American Psychiatric Association, social iso- lation often leads to bad health habits and a great- er likelihood of increased smoking and drinking, as well as decreased physical activity.
(ah, look at all the lonely people) Where do they all belong?
We humans are social beings, and we need social contact. Jackie, a Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. participant, lived her entire life with her mother because of cognitive developmental issues. When she was in her late fifties, she and her mother became PACE participants. Prior to PACE, Jackie lived quite an isolated life with very little interaction with anyone other than her mother. Being somewhat socially awkward, she was noticeably quiet and reserved around other people. However, it didn’t take long for that to change. As other PACE participants began inter- acting with her, Jackie’s personality blossomed. Over the past 10 years as a PACE participant Jackie has made dozens of friends, participates in as many center activities as possible, and has even danced (with her walker) during talent shows. PACE changed her life! She built a bond of friendship with other PACE participants that dramatically improved her quality of life.
Where do lonely people come from? What is their story? Why do they feel such a great sense of loneliness? Loneliness can affect all people regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, social affiliations, or economic status. It has even been said, “You can be lonely in a crowded room.” Loneliness is all around us.
We can choose to look at loneliness simply as an obstacle some people encounter. Or, we can view it as an opportunity to reach out to become a needed friend to someone feeling isolated in their very small corner of an enor- mously big world.
Increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease – In a study conducted by the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging, loneliness is a risk factor for cognitive decline. In the study, the risk of Alzheimer’s near- ly doubled in lonely adults, and mental decline was faster.
Some negative effects of senior isolation and loneliness include the following:
Connect with those who matter the most – Especially during the holidays, this usually means connecting with family. Not all families are emo- tionally close but reaching out and getting togeth- er with family is one of the most powerful ways to build a bond and overcome loneliness. In most cases, family is the most important social contact in the life of a senior.
  The best way to combat loneliness is to begin building bonds of friendship with others. These individuals may be family members, neighbors, or possibly people you have lost contact with over the years.
  Some of the loneliest people, especially during the holiday season, are older adults who have limited contact with family and friends. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of all seniors live by themselves. That’s close to 13.8 million seniors aging alone. While living alone doesn’t inevitably lead to senior loneliness, the two often go hand-in-hand.
Understandably, building those bonds is easier said than done. Consider these tips.
Throughout the 1950s, psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichman raised awareness about
Seek out new friendships – This may be a good time to begin talking to that neighbor you
Reestablish friendships – There are likely many people with whom you had a connection over the years, but the relationship eventually faded. Call those individuals and strike up a con- versation. You will probably be surprised how happy they will be to hear from you.
If you or an aging family member needs social interaction or desires to build a bond of friend- ship, Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. may be the place for you or your loved one. To learn more please call us at (269) 441-9319 or visit www.seniorcarepartnersmi.org.
   Experience the Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. Difference!
                          THE CARE YOU NEED TO HELP YOU STAY IN THE HOME YOU LOVE!
COORDINATED SERVICES INCLUDE...
• Physical and Occupational • Quality Medical Care • Socialization
Therapy Services • Social Services • Support for Caregivers
• Safety in the Home
Call us to find out if Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. is right for you or someone you love - (269) 441-9319
   Visit https://www.facebook.com/ www.seniorcarepartnersmi.org seniorcarepartners/
Text “PACE” to 51555 to learn more about the services we provide
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