Assisted living centers are great for seniors for a variety of reasons, but one reason you might not realize is the social interaction benefits they offer seniors. Staying socially connected to others is often difficult for seniors, but it is also vital. For a senior to stay as healthy as possible, he or she needs social interaction. The opposite of social interaction is loneliness, and here are three effects loneliness can have on a senior's physical health.
People who are lonely have a higher risk of developing heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and heart disease. This occurs because of the way a person's body feels and fights during times of isolation. When a person is lonely, he or she is likely to feel depressed and sad. This causes the brain to produce high levels of cortisol, which can directly affect the heart in negative ways.
Loneliness can also lead to developing more illnesses, and this is due to the way loneliness affects the immune system. Lonely people often have weakened immune systems, primarily because of the way the body reacts to loneliness and isolation. When the immune system is weak, a person is more susceptible to all types of illnesses. In addition, people who are lonely do not usually eat as well as people do when they are socially connected with others on a regular basis. This too could contribute to a weakened immune system.
People who are not socially active may also have a higher risk of developing memory problems, such as dementia. Researchers believe that this occurs from the hardening of arteries that naturally happens from stress, but there might be other reasons as well. For example, when a person is lonely, he or she might not be exercising his or her brain enough. This could lead to memory loss and other memory-related issues.
Shorter life span
In addition, being lonely for a long time may reduce a person's life expectancy. Relationships and social interaction help people feel happy, satisfied, and content with life. When a person does not have these things, he or she may feel like there is nothing to live for.
Loneliness is a horrible problem to have, yet so many seniors suffer from this issue. If you have a loved one who lives alone and seems lonely, your loved one is at a higher risk for developing the issues listed here. If you would like to help him or her get more socially connected and reduce these risks, it might be time to look into assisted living facilities like Orchard Park.