Distancing yourself from others is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it can lead to feeling lonely and isolated. Isolation has a significant impact on health, contributing to conditions such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. Although, the world health organization recommends for people to keep socializing at a distance – online or through the phone.
How Does Isolation and Mental Health Affect Each Other
It’s important to consider who is the most at risk and what signs or symptoms to look out for.
Mental and physical health is affected in a good way by positive social interaction. It’s even believed that relationships are a biological need and vital to our well-being and survival. Having a social support network has a significant positive effect on health – many countries even treat loneliness as a health priority.
Some of the mental health risks associated with loneliness and isolation may include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers have also identified links between loneliness and some physical conditions, such as heart disease and breast cancer.
The Most At Risk
Seniors are the most likely to feel isolated from others during social distancing – more than 8 million elderly are affected by isolation.
Senior’s risk for loneliness is higher due:
- children leaving home
- age-related health problems
Major life changes can lead to social ties breaking, which makes it more difficult to socialize.
What to Look For?
Certain signs and symptoms can show if isolation is taking a toll on a senior’s mental health, such as :
- feelings of depression and anxiety
- aggressive behavior
- passive attitude
- poor sleep quality
- cognitive decline
- altered memory
- poor self-care or self-neglect
Seniors are more connected than ever – 85% of seniors 65 and older owned a cell phone with 46% of those owning a smartphone. The willingness of seniors to interact with technology can help lower rates of isolation and depression, which can have devastating consequences for senior health.
Top apps for virtual connections
One of the most popular apps for video chatting is Skype. It’s a free app that can be downloaded to a mobile device or a laptop or desktop. The app features HD video, live subtitles, and call recording so that you can relive those special moments caught on video.
FaceTime is specifically for iPhone users and can only be used to call other iPhone users. FaceTime is a free app for video calls, similar to Skype.
- Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is available to both Facebook users and non-users. On Facebook Messenger, you can chat, send a video, or make an audio or video call.
The Victorian Assisted Living and Retirement Community
The Victorian is an assisted living and retirement community that makes living independently, while at the same time feeling safe and secure, a reality. We strive to provide the best quality of life for all residents including those suffering from loneliness and depression.
We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact The Victorian today to learn more about our services or tour our community.