Elderly living in public senior housing communities have a higher chance of experiencing loneliness.
A recent study by the Washington University in St. Louis found that around 43 percent of the elderly public housing community residents they surveyed would classify what they feel as moderate loneliness. Meanwhile, a smaller but still significant 27 percent said that they are extremely lonely.
Why residents in senior housing communities are prone to loneliness
Harry Chatters Taylor, the lead author of the study, believes that these high rates of loneliness are due to factors such as poverty.
“In order to qualify to live in these senior housing communities, older adults must have a low income, and having a lower income is a risk factor for loneliness,” Taylor said in an interview with Science Blog.
Taylor also credited being single as a factor for loneliness. He also noted a lot of the elderly in senior public housing are more vulnerable to both mental and physical health problems which may limit their ability to interact and makes them more susceptible to being lonely.
How these communities can help seniors overcome loneliness
Despite all these factors, the study also found that these same housing setups may be the ideal place to help seniors fight against loneliness because it brings them closer to a community of others at a similar time in life.
Aside from companionship, senior public housing communities also have facilities where seniors can meet other residents and busy themselves with activities. Many homes have group activities that can help residents to become more involved with others.
How caregivers can help seniors not feel lonely
Caregivers or aides working in senior public housing could also be of great help to residents suffering from loneliness. Caregivers should present themselves as people who are open for more than just the necessary interactions. Do not be afraid to initiate conversation if an older person in your care appears to be feeling lonely.
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