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Can Loneliness Lead to Alzheimer’s?

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on July 11, 2016

Loneliness can have a negative impact on your senior loved one’s cognitive health. In fact, feeling this emotion too often may increase his or her odds of developing Alzheimer’s. The staff at Chandler Home Care Assistance discusses a few connections between feeling lonely and the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Reduces Intellectual Stimulation 

Being isolated decreases your loved one’s intellectual stimulation, which can also reduce his or her memory skills. Without stimulation, the connections between your loved one’s brain cells can be altered. To prevent social isolation, learn what is causing your loved one to socially withdraw from family and friends and figure out how to rectify the situation. For instance, if your loved one is embarrassed to be around others due to limited mobility, consider ordering mobility aids and hiring a part-time or live-in caregiver in Chandler to help with daily activities. 

Causes Stress

Lonely seniors often become depressed and stressed, which increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. As a result of being lonely, your loved one’s stress hormone levels may increase, even if he or she is relaxing. Stress triggers a degenerative process in the brain, which can lead to Alzheimer’s. To prevent this degeneration, take your loved one out into the community to interact with other people. A good social network can reduce your loved one’s risk of becoming stressed because of loneliness.

Lowers Brain Reserve

Loneliness can also impact your loved one’s brain reserve. When the brain reserve is lowered, his or her cognitive function and memory can be affected. Your loved one can prevent this by volunteering in the community, getting a pet, hiring a Chandler Alzheimer’s caregiver for mental and social stimulation, joining a senior group, or moving in with a family member. 

Leads to Disconnection 

Losing friends or family could cause your loved one to disconnect from the world, resulting in a deep despair that causes memory loss. The longer your loved one is disconnected, the more he or she may forget what it is like to build relationships and maintain them. This type of forgetfulness can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. To prevent this, encourage your loved one to hold on to memories of past relationships, but explain it is equally important to build new friendships and memories.

Providing mentally stimulating activities for your loved one can cure loneliness and help prevent Alzheimer’s as well. At Home Care Assistance, we train all of our caregivers in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program designed to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on the elderly care Chandler families trust, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.