Life has different challenges in each stage. There is a lot of talk about poor health, weakened immunity and aging.
This however does not overshadow the acute sense of loneliness in old age in spite of their apparent physical health difficulties.
Loneliness in old age is often underrated, as Prakriti Poddar, Global Head of Mental Health and Well-being at the Roundglass Living app puts it.
According to her it is a significant problem for older people with numerous implications for their general well-being.
The Overlooked Plight: Loneliness in Old Age
Although loneliness occurs at all ages, it is much more pronounced in old age. According to Poddar, old age comes along with its usual conditions which include retired from professional life, loss of friends and loved ones and children living far away from home.
As a result, there is continuous consolidation of social circles by the aged leaving them feeling empty; hence becoming mentally challenged physically.
Research reveals an alarming link between social isolation as well as loneliness with various diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, obesity, depression, cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Strategies to Combat Loneliness in Old Age
According to Poddar, we need to forge holistic environments that value elders thus making them feel important.
She underscores the importance of employing practices that focus specifically on seniors’ wellbeing through goals such as enhancing purposefulness among them while also helping them manage their negative emotions and adopt mindful living.
There are five strategies proposed by Poddar to address and mitigate the effects of loneliness in old age:
1. Nurture Social Connections
It doesn’t matter how old one gets but maintaining social relationships are key. To nurture them helps develop empathy which reduces anxiety and despair.
2. Be Physically Active
Everyone should remain active both mentally and physically irrespective of his or her age group because exercise has always been a fundamental aspect in overall good health.
For elders keeping fit does not only boost their self-esteem and confidence, but also provides them with opportunities for interacting with other people. Yoga can be used to improve sleep quality, balance, strength and cardiovascular health.
3. Practice Mindfulness
For seniors, stress reduction and relationship improvement are some of the advantages of mindfulness and meditation which enhance sleep quality as well.
Apart from that, meditation has been found to delay cognitive decline in elderly persons.
4. Find A Purpose
Retirement is not the end of the road; it’s just an alteration. It is important for seniors to remain active by taking part in voluntary work or community service projects as this can offer them a sense of direction apart from working as a source of income at times.
5. Indulge in Healthy Eating
Both mental stability and physical fitness require good nutrition. This includes keeping hydrated all through the day, avoiding excessive drinking of alcohol as well as eating a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Poddar concludes the article by re-echoing that aging does not necessarily mean loneliness in old age.
Therefore, if senior citizens focus on awareness, support networks within their communities and prioritizing their mental and physical state they will have an opportunity to fully enjoy their last years rather than feeling sorry for this lost youthfulness.
However, this can be possible only when people intentionally channel their energies in one way or another embracing such strategies as these implies thriving at any age actually happens.
Society needs to recognize the increasing number of aged people and take into account the effects of loneliness in old age.
Though they need better care, neglecting their emotional state is bad for their total well-being because it may result in poor health status.
Inclusiveness, purpose and belongingness to our seniors should be looked upon by the community as a whole, and individuals too, with a view to fostering these attributes.
This will keep our seniors from being left in darkness but rather bring them into contact with supportive social ties and meaningful living.