Why are the elderly more at risk of suffering from isolation and depression?

For seniors, social engagement becomes less due to a variety of reasons – retired from jobs, children moved away to another city or country, friends and spouses passed away. Human beings are social animals, even until old age they require meaningful social connections. Due to circumstances, the elderly find themselves being lonely which takes a toll on their physical and mental health.

DID YOU KNOW?

About 21% of elders reported always feeling lonely, the feeling of loneliness is often felt among Malaysian elderly as a result of having chronic conditions, lack of monetary support and living away from their family.

For more about what determines loneliness in the elderly, you can check out this link.

So how can we keep the elderly engaged?

  • Community
Have a short conversation over the telephone or electronic gadgets (Zoom, FaceTime, Hangouts etc.) Having a short conversation with someone can make a huge difference in an elderly’s life, whether that person may be a care provider. Talking to someone also helps with social stimulation and it can greatly reduce the elderly’s chances of feeling lonely. Keeping connected, is what will help the elderly cope with depression and reclusiveness. 
  • Light exercise
Walking in the garden within the home compound for 30 minutes increases stamina and uplifts one’s mood. Stretching improves mobility and flexibility.
  • Play games
Board games get the elderly to engage in conversation with family and friends as well as combat memory loss and depression.
  • Go on outings
Outings to the park or a visit to a family/friend’s or home or to a shopping mall gives the elderly the opportunity to interact with people.
Amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we do not encourage any visits to public places (parks, shopping malls etc) and gatherings (weddings, birthday parties, functions etc.) for the elderly. As they do not have as strong an immune system and are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
According to data from China, those aged 80-plus suffer mortality rates of 15%.  As such, we would advise to carry out items (1) and (2) while item (3) can be done if the family lives together with the elderly. On how to help the elderly to cope during COVID19, read more here.
Our nurses and caregivers are also equipped with companionship skills in order to accompany your loved one on their ageing journey, all in the comforts of their own home. Get in touch with us to find out more on how we can help.

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