A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers shows the impact of social isolation, which is when a person has few social relationships and few people with whom to interact. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 25 percent of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.
The study followed more than 5,000 US residents over 9 years. At the beginning of the study, the participants with an average age of 76 were free of dementia and were not living in a nursing home, assisted living center or other group residential institution. However, 23% of the participants were identified as socially isolated from others.
During the 9 years, participants were given periodic cognitive tests. Of those who’d been identified as socially isolated, 26% developed dementia while about 20% of those not identified as socially isolated were diagnosed.
Prolonged social isolation has been shown to increase the likelihood of dementia, as well as to physical and mental health risks such as hypertension, heart disease, depression and a reduction in the brain’s cognitive function.
At BeeHive Homes, we recognize that older adults are at greater risk of social isolation. When a senior adult comes to one of our small group assisted living homes, we know they may have been living alone; we make extra effort to help them engage with other residents and caregivers.
Our caregivers are also trained to be alert to signs of dementia as well as other physical or mental health concerns. Our compassionate staff members understand the needs of our residents and provide loving, supportive assistance, including conversation and the power of touch to help our residents not feel socially isolated.
If we can help with your family’s need to care for a senior adult or if we can help answer questions about assisted living services in our small senior group facilities across New Mexico, please give us a call.