December 21, 2021
Senior Health: How Community Can Help Loved Ones Avoid Depression During the Holidays
The holidays are supposed to be joyous but sometimes the ‘most wonderful time of year’ isn’t, especially if you live alone like many seniors do. In fact, social isolation is one of the biggest predictors of depression during the holidays according to Healthline. Here’s how you can help your loved one avoid it.
Social Isolation and Seniors
About 28 percent of seniors in the United States, or 13.8 million people, live alone, according to a report by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What’s more, seniors who live by themselves, on average, spend about 10 and a half hours alone each day. But even those who live with someone, other than a spouse, still have an average of seven and a half hours of alone time each day according to Pew Research Center.
That said, it’s easy to see why social isolation affects nearly 1 in 5 seniors according to AARP. But it’s important to understand that social isolation IS NOT the same thing as loneliness. The AARP Foundation describes loneliness as the feeling or perception of being alone, while social isolation can be quantified by the size of your social network and/or ability to access it. As such, social isolation occurs when a person is psychologically or physically detached from support groups of family, friends and community.
Aside from living alone, other factors that put seniors at risk for social isolation include:
- Hearing/vision loss
- Limited mobility
- Limited transportation options
- Being a caregiver for someone with a serious condition
- Chronic health conditions
- Psychological or cognitive challenges
Avoiding Depression Due to Social Isolation During the Holidays
In addition to depression, social isolation can also pose health risks for seniors including increased risk of premature death from all causes, increased risk of dementia, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and higher rates of anxiety. So, helping your loved one to avoid it is essential to their mental and physical health during the holidays and beyond.
One way to do this is through community. In fact, our senior living communities feature a socially connected environment right down to the design. Not only that, we’re committed to supporting your loved one’s body, mind and spirit through our signature Whole Life Living TM program. This personalized, holistic approach to wellness takes our belief that a healthier life is a happier life, and puts it into action through four facets:
- Eat better – Healthy, fresh, and made-from scratch meals including gluten-free, vegetarian and diabetic options.
- Feel better – Complimentary on-site certified personal trainer and fitness center.
- Think better – Stay Sharp lifelong learning programs.
- Live better – Regular opportunities to pursue purpose.
It’s a lifestyle that’s filled with friends, neighbors and team members who become family along with plenty of opportunities to stay active, connected, engaged and have fun! Plus, the holidays in our communities are particularly festive with beautiful decorations and plenty of seasonal activities for residents and their families to enjoy.
For more information on how to help your loved one avoid depression during the holidays or on the benefits of senior living at GenCare Lifestyle, schedule a tour today.