People need to connect to others. The desire to be social is ingrained and cannot be ignored. If your mom is feeling lonely or isolated, it impacts her health in many ways. Some of those effects can be incredibly detrimental to her physical health. It also affects her mental health.
What Research Finds Regarding Loneliness and Physical Health
Studies find that loneliness impacts physical health in several ways. Lonely people seem to have higher rates of high blood pressure and obesity, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
It’s also been found that isolated and lonely people seem to have a higher risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The studies are ongoing, but it’s worth making sure your mom isn’t lonely. If there’s even the slightest chance it can lower her risk, it’s worth it.
Another aspect of loneliness and isolation is that you’re not exposed to as many viruses. The immune system weakens and makes your mom’s body have to fight harder if she comes down with a cold or the flu. Socialization can help the immune system work effectively.
The Impact of Loneliness on Mental Health
In addition to the physical effects, her mental health is impacted by loneliness. She may start experiencing anxiety. Anxiety can spiral out of control and increase your mom’s isolation and loneliness.
When anxiety attacks occur, your mom may feel like she’s having a heart attack. Chest pain, difficulty getting a deep breath, and tingling in the extremities are all signs of an anxiety or panic attack. She might feel lightheaded and about to pass out. That may make her retreat and refuse to leave her home for fear of others seeing her that way.
Depression can impact those who are lonely and isolated. If you notice your mom sleeping less or more, becoming disinterested in things she used to love, or withdrawing from family, she could be experiencing depression.
Steps to Take to Help Your Mom
How do you keep your mom from feeling lonely or isolated? Make sure she volunteers as much as possible. Ensure family members and friends visit as often as possible. Beyond that, arrange companion care at home to make sure she’s never alone.
Caregivers stop by to help your mom complete daily activities. While they’re there helping her cook, clean, and do the laundry, they’re also engaging her socially. Call an expert in companion care at home to learn more.