Loneliness and Seniors

It’s a new year and we at The Julia Ruth House are more committed than ever (if that’s even possible) to help families understand and deal with issues such as senior loneliness, depression, and dementia in its many forms. Each month, we will tackle an issue we believe is critical to the health and well-being of aging loved ones as well as their caregivers. Follow us here on our blog and on our Facebook page.

Loneliness and Seniors
An Epidemic seldom discussed

Is there a senior in your life you are concerned about? Perhaps they are becoming increasingly isolated and you worry that he or she is lonely but you aren’t sure what to do. It’s not the easiest subject to bring up, especially when family members or loved ones are proud and don’t want to admit they’re feeling alone.

Perhaps no other age group feels the sting of loneliness more than the elderly, and it is a growing health concern among families and physicians. According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), lonely seniors are more likely to decline and die faster. The study also found that isolated elders had a 59 percent greater risk of mental and physical decline than their more social counterparts. In addition, a Dutch study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry revealed that people who feel lonely are significantly more likely to develop clinical dementia over a period of 3 years as compared to those who do not feel lonely.

And loneliness is contagious. Older adults who feel lonely are more prone to behave in ways that may cause other people to not want to be around them. Psychologists from the University of Chicago who analyzed data from the Farmingham Heart Study, a long-term, ongoing cardiovascular study, found that solitary seniors have a tendency to further isolate themselves by pushing people away and not making efforts to engage with others.
Seniors may also withdraw into isolation as a result of health conditions, depression or mental illness. Physical limitations such as fear of falling, fatigue, chronic pain, or shame over memory problems can keep seniors isolated as well.

Whether or not a senior in your life is lonely or socially isolated, this epidemic of loneliness is a society-wide problem that affects all of us. Have you ever been frustrated with an elderly person who holds up the check-out line while she chats with the checker? What if that’s the only conversation she’ll have all day – or all week? Experts say that as a society, we should be treating senior loneliness as the public health crisis it is, because of the profound effects loneliness can have on physical and mental health.

At The Julia Ruth House, we are familiar with the risks of loneliness. We are also familiar with the burden facing caregivers who have to work or who have children to raise. Caring for an aging parent or a spouse with physical or mental decline is not easy. In fact, it can be downright stressful. Caregiver stress can have a serious negative impact on the caregiver’s health, too. We’re here so you can take a break.

In our next blog, we’ll address caregivers and their needs.

The Julia Ruth House Blog

With an increasing number of seniors living longer-more family members are finding themselves in the position of having to care for their parent or spouse.

In many cases, it is difficult for spouses or family members to care for their loved one for a variety of reasons such as:
The need to care for children or another adult
The need to work outside the home
Inability to care for them for 24 hours a day
Inability to provide the care and stimulation they need
Inability to provide the socialization they need

Oftentimes, the caregiver needs help but does not feel that a nursing home or institutional care is appropriate so they seek alternatives.

Adult Day Care is a great alternative to a nursing home for frail, physically or cognitively impaired seniors and their caregivers. Senior Daycare centers have varying levels of care so it is important to find a place that matches your loved one’s physical, social, and cognitive needs.

Adult Day Centers are located in all different types of facilities so it is important to visit these in person and meet with the staff to see if it feels right for you and your loved one. Our facility is in a historic home and has an old inn like feeling but some seniors might need a more restrictive setting. Our facility is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We offer breakfast, lunch, and high tea in the afternoon.

If you have been considering adult day care-here are some guidelines for when it might be time to explore your options:

*Your loved one needs medical care
*Your loved one is unable to provide enough daily structure for themselves
*Your loved one cannot be left alone due to safety reasons
*Your loved one feels lonely or has daily periods of isolation
*Your loved one needs supervision during the day

For many older adults, adult day care can be a place to make friends, participate in both physically and cognitively challenging and fun activities. In our facility, for example, people can participate in activities ranging from exercise, gardening, and reading to appreciation, movies, and field trips.

The cost of adult day care services is much less than paying for nursing home care and can allow the caregiver resume their everyday responsibilities.

Contact us to learn more or to see if our adult day care is right for your loved one at (781) 251- 3393.

Click on the link below for more resources:


Serving older adults from the towns of Westwood, Needham, Norwood, Medfield, Walpole, Dover, West Roxbury, Roslindale, Canton, Wellesley and more at the best senior day care center in Massachusetts.

Our Massachusetts Adult Day Care program is wheelchair accessible.

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