12. Loneliness and Nursing Homes in New York

Nursing Home and Loneliness in the elderly

One of the most prevalent ongoing issues with patients with nursing homes is loneliness.  I feel like everyone have been lonely at some point in their life, but it does have a major effect on the seniors.

Lets look at a definition of loneliness.

Loneliness  is the unpleasant feeling of emptiness or desolation can creep in and cause suffering to people at any age. But it can be especially debilitating to older adults and may predict serious health problems and even death, according to a new study by UCSF researchers.

I personally know plenty of elderly and lonely people in New York City, regardless of the density and the population of this large city… loneliness and isolation is actually more of a common prevalent incident. 

Lonely Without Being Alone

One of the more surprising findings in an analysis study is that loneliness does not necessarily correlate with living alone. The study found 43 percent of surveyed older adults felt lonely, yet only 18 percent lived alone.

Researchers at UCSF focused on death and a decrease in the ability to perform daily activities such as upper extremity tasks, climbing stairs, and walking.

People who identified themselves as lonely had an adjusted risk ratio of 1.59 or a statistically significant 59 percent greater risk of decline. For death, the hazard ratio was 1.45 or 45 percent greater risk of death.

“This is one of those outcomes you don’t want to see because it was terrible to find out it was actually true,”.  “We went into the analysis thinking that there was a risk we could find nothing, but there actually was a strong correlation.”

Depression vs. Loneliness

I clearly believe the impact of loneliness on an elderly patient is different from the effects of depression.   Although both patients may exhibit some common characterestics, they are still very different from each other.

While depression is linked with a lack enjoyment, energy and motivation, loneliness can be felt in people who are fully functional but feel empty or desolate.

The “baby boomer” generation — those born between 1946 and 1964 — represents the largest population growth in U.S. history. Some of them now are part of the 39.6 million population of people older than 65. That number is expected to more than double to 88.5 million by 2050.

As that population continues to expand, it is important to be able to start to integrate social and medical services for elderly patients more comprehensively, and be more mindful of what kinds of social interventions they require.

“Asking about chronic diseases is not enough,”. “There’s much more going on in people’s homes and their communities that is affecting their health.  If we don’t ask about it, we are missing a very important and independent risk factor.

It is always important to pay attention and be mindul to our elderly person`s needs and emotional situation,  this has a huge impact on their survival and well being.  

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