Loneliness in Seniors

For some elderly women in Japan, prison offers companionship and a life free from worry.

via Elderly Japanese Women Are Turning to Crime to Find Companionship in Prison — Longreads

I am new to WordPress, but I am so happy I joined.  I’m finding the most relevant information through other bloggers.  This article came up on my feed.  I was absolutely fascinated with this topic.  I started reading this article and couldn’t stop.  Basically the author is reporting on how lonely living conditions are driving some elderly women to commit crimes in order to be incarcerated.  These women feel more connection and well being while incarcerated.

I did a quick article search and found research article an article on Pubmed that summarizes that loneliness leads to increased use of health care.

As a physician, I treat primarily geriatric age, or patients older than 65.  As I’m working through a busy day, I’m aware of a lack of social support.  I am very aware of  my sickest patients seeming to have the least amount of social support.

I am aware of how being lonely affects my patients health.  Typically, the human life toward the end is marked by more losses than gains.  Loss of career, spouses, siblings, and friends all while being surrounded  by a culture that is fascinated with all things youth related.

I won’t pretend to have an instant answer, but here are some of my observations and how I help seniors cope:

Social Media

For all its blessings, it can have many negatives.  Some say that social media may be driving us apart.  I notice in my senior patients, they often have a cell phone, but their life experience has not lead them to show much curiosity in any social media.  They will complain that none of their family reaches out to them, not realizing that within a few simple steps, they can connect with all of their younger relatives for free.  If you have an older relative, offer to give them a tutorial in Facebook or Instagram.  Its a great way to bond, and often opens up a world they did not feel they could be apart of.

 

Senior Centers

Many cities and counties have some sort of senior center, but often no one knows to look.  Younger family members are often so but they don’t realize there’e resources available to older relatives.  Here are a few links locally:

Oklahoma City Senior Programs

Midwest City Senior Center

US Department of Health and Human Services

 

I’m often encouraging my patients that you can help your brain with aging with challenges.  Taking on a new hobby or a class in something you’ve never done stimulates new neural connections and increases overall health.

This is a difficult topic.  We all want to age, and maybe we’ll find a better way to do this at some point.

 

 

Author: Charlyce Davis

I am an Internal Medicine physician with 10 years of practice experience. I have become a student of Reiki and I have also studied yoga.

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