3 signs that an elderly person is lonely
Several warning signs about the loneliness problems we may suffer in old age.
While loneliness need not in itself be a negative thing, feeling lonely is. This feeling can have many negative consequences on our mental health.
We are all susceptible to feeling lonely at some point, and that this loneliness can hurt us, but certainly the group that is most vulnerable to the effects of chronic loneliness are the elderly.
Given how detrimental it is in this group, we are going to see below the 3 main signs that an elderly person is lonelyWhat consequences it can bring in his health and what we can do to revert it.
Suffering from loneliness during old age
Everyone can be lonely at some point in their lives. These episodes of loneliness need not be a bad thing, in fact many people make the most of their solitude by seeing it as a time for reflection and self-knowledge, a period when they take a break from how hectic human relationships can be. Loneliness, in itself, does not have to be a negative thing.
However, feeling lonely can become a heavy burden. People need the support of others, to feel that there are people who care about us, who are there so that if one day something happens to us, they will move to do everything possible to prevent us from suffering danger. People who unfortunately don't have this because they have ended up socially isolated, trapped, trapped, trapped, trapped, trapped, trapped, trapped. have ended up socially isolated, trapped in chronic lonelinessare at high risk of suffering from physical and psychological ailments of all kinds.
As time goes by, people who are alone feel increasingly sad, unmotivated and even useless, feeling that nobody cares about them. This is especially worrying in the case of the elderly, especially because they are the ones most at risk of falling into absolute loneliness, given that it is at this age that they begin to have problems with mobility and mobility problems. mobility problems that prevent them from going out into the outside world begin to appear.In addition, they may experience the loss of friends and spouses while their children have long since become independent.
What is chronic loneliness?
To detect the signs that indicate that an older person is lonely, we must first understand what we mean by chronic loneliness. This type of loneliness is when feelings of loneliness and social isolation extend over a long period of time. The person has constant feelings of loneliness, alienation or detachment from society, but does not have the tools or facilities to reconnect socially. does not have the tools or facilities to reconnect on a social level.. Added to this are feelings of low self-esteem, feelings of rejection and fear of other people.
Chronic loneliness can catch even the most sociable person off guard. While being an extrovert may serve as a protective factor, situational factors can also cause a person to become disconnected from society, such as having an illness that prevents mobility, having lost important relationships, or simply no longer having ways to establish contact with family members.
The main signs that an elderly person feels lonely are
What causes an older person to be in a situation of extreme loneliness can be very varied, ranging from their own personality traits to the loss of significant relationships, either because they have distanced themselves or because they have died. Likewise, we can highlight three main signs that indicate that an older person feels lonely and is at risk of being trapped in chronic loneliness.
1. Lack of the habit of cultivating friendships
One of the main reasons why older people may feel lonely and isolated is the loss of friends. As we age, it is inevitable that we will lose friendships, mainly because we all have to come to an end. However, if the person does nothing to try to if the person does nothing to try to maintain or expand his or her network of "contacts" with friends, isolation will gain ground in a very damaging way..
As relatives, friends or important people for that older person, we can make an effort and try to help him/her discover new friendships, joining activities with other people of his/her age and, thus, sharing time with people with the same tastes, avoiding isolation.
2. Lack of self-esteem
Any person who has made it to old age must have had an interesting life. It is logical to think that there will be more interesting life trajectories than others, but without a doubt all of them have anecdotes, stories and great feats to tell..
Taking this into account, it is worrying that an elderly person tells us that his life has not been interesting, that it has not been of great importance and that he has nothing to tell and feels no pride in past achievements, no matter how insignificant they may seem.
If an older person tells us that he feels bad, that he feels that he has wasted his life, that he is worthless, that nobody loves him and comments of this type, it is quite easy to see that he feels alone and has a serious self-esteem problem. She needs to revalue herself by relating to other people.
For this reason, it is important to it is important to emphasize the good things she has achieved throughout her life, to keep her active, to show that we care about her.keep her active, show that we care about her and that we take her into account, that without her our life would lack something.
3. Unwillingness to adapt
One of the most widespread stereotypes about old age is that older people are reluctant to new things. This is partly true, but not to the extent that the person is unable to relate to the world and cannot tolerate doing anything new.
If the older person shows little predisposition to adapt, this is a worrying sign. It may mean that has reached such a point of severe loneliness that, although he suffers from it, he is not able to tolerate new situations, even if they are fun and bring him interaction with other people.even if they are fun and bring interaction with other people.
To remedy this problem what we can do is to try to introduce new experiences in the life of that person, gradually and smoothly, so that he/she can value the novelty again, everything that the world out there can offer.
How damaging can chronic loneliness become?
Chronic loneliness is very harmful to anyone's health, but more especially in the elderly. Prolonged feelings of loneliness can have a very negative effect on health, both physically and mentally, and this can be understood taking into account the important weight that hormones come to exert.
It has been shown that chronic loneliness increases the levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone known to be involved in stress.. If secreted in large quantities, in addition to being the endocrinological basis of stress, it produces several processes in the body, including inflammation, weight gain, insulin resistance and many other organic problems. It could be said that loneliness, if handled badly, makes the body sick.
But there are many other negative effects of chronic loneliness, effects that can also manifest themselves without the person feeling lonely or being really lonely, in case he/she has a low state of mind, they can get worse..
- Sleep disturbances
- Diabetes type 2
- Heart problems
- High Blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Substance abuse
All of these problems associated with chronic loneliness are associated with a shorter life expectancy.For this reason, it is extremely necessary to know if a person feels very lonely and, if so, to find a solution.
Chronic loneliness and neurodegeneration
Much has been studied about chronic loneliness and old age, especially its link with neurodegeneration. Feeling lonely has a negative impact on the brain, and it is in old age that the most damage can be done, as this is the period in which the first symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases appear. the first symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases appear in many cases, especially dementias such as Alzheimer's disease..
Although dementia does not have to occur in all cases, it is true that people who feel lonely have a marked reduction in their cognitive skills. Executive functions such as concentration, decision making and problem solving are aspects that may be impaired in elderly people living alone. All this makes them more prone to accidents, which can have fatal consequences if no one helps them if they are seriously injured.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)