Loneliness and isolation are often overlooked problems for seniors, who are already dealing with mental and physical challenges as they age. Too many seniors in our communities feel isolated and alone; we can strengthen our communities by getting closer.
Many of us have a senior in our lives, one way or another, like a grandparent, parent, neighbour or friend. To put forward an effort and provide a meaningful, quality interaction with a senior can make all the difference in their lives. Seniors’ isolation and loneliness truly depends on the quality of day-to-day interactions with other people, not quantity.
Research has shown that 1 in 4 seniors lives with a mental health problem (e.g. depression, anxiety or dementia) or illness. Canada’s National Seniors Council reported that approximately 50 per cent of Canadians over the age of 80 report feeling lonely. Most respondents also noted that their mental health (self-esteem and confidence) contributed to their isolation and heavily impacted their quality of life. This lead to a decrease in connection to their communities, surrounding neighbours and families.
Edmonton’s growing senior population still need connections, our time and respect. Their past experiences and knowledge are valuable in continuing to build our cities, communities and culture that they laid the foundation for. Share a conversation or a story, offer a helping hand if they need it, stop by for lunch or give a senior a phone call.
It’s these small acts that help show that as a city, we are moving forward in the right direction to combat isolation and loneliness. Shed some light on mental health and be kind to our seniors who helped bring us to where we are now.
Don’t be scared! Let’s continue to strengthen our communities, contribute to a healthier, friendlier Edmonton. It’s as simple as saying… “Hello, how are you?”