As much as we may complain about people sometimes or want to be left alone once in a while, residents of Coronado and elsewhere generally do like having some people around them – but maybe not real close all the time.
For instance, people receiving palliative care may generally appreciate the different members of a palliative care team working with them, as opposed to trying to coordinate everything themselves or maybe talking only to a primary provider once in a while and no one else.
The team at Accredited Home Care is also an advocate of the team approach since this strategy seems to work well for clients and staff. It allows people with different training and expertise to work with clients to offer them optimal care and help their quality of life. This can include access to a variety of services based on what a client needs, everything from massage therapy to physical therapy.
Palliative teams also can provide access to other professionals in different areas of health care, including providers, nurses, and home health aides. Even social workers can be available who can help navigate some of the non-medical aspects of what a client might be going through, including financial questions, faith questions, general mental health questions, or details about estate planning or other final arrangements.
Depending on how many people someone likes having around at any given time, they could all come at different times or come in small groups. Not only does this keep numbers down, but it also can give clients something to look forward to throughout the week or month. “Thursday is massage!” “Tuesday is occupational therapy!” “The nurse and an aide are coming over tomorrow.”
All of these visitors can offer good advice and skills and help people stay connected.
Beyond what our team directly can offer clients, we also encourage them to find ways to stay connected with the people around them, something that has become a greater challenge with COVID-19 restrictions and precautions. Since many of our clients are considered high-risk, many have tried to minimize going out in public and also avoiding direct interactions with friends and family.
But stay-at-home orders and general policies of caution don’t make life easier for people who already may be feeling isolated on their own, such as those who live alone. In some cases, family members may have moved away or passed away recently, or friendly neighbors may have moved or are practicing their own health precautions.
These restrictions may have aggravated other feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Interestingly, many scientists were talking about the risks of loneliness well before the world locked itself down in 2020.
The American Psychological Association has been trying to define the differences and similarities between loneliness and social isolation.
Prior to 2020, mental health experts were seeing a rise in the numbers of people feeling a lack of a social connection, and several studies had concluded that this could be detrimental to overall health. Too much isolation could lead to health problems and even an increased risk of death.
It could also aggravate other conditions like depression and lead to substance abuse, which both can lead to other mental or physical conditions.
Occasional incidents that may cause moments of loneliness could be called unfortunate parts of life, such as the death of a loved one, a child moving out, or a close friend relocating. These can often be worked through standard coping methods. But mental health experts say that too many of these disruptions in a short amount of time can be unhealthy.
Researchers are finding that chronic or prolonged loneliness and isolation can actually alter the brain, which is why there is concern about COVID lock-downs. These situations may increase the risk of depression and anxiety, as well as greater chances of obesity and cardiovascular conditions.
We encourage people concerned about their own isolation to think about ways to counter this but still abide by health cautions.
These can include learning different ways to interact with others through video conferencing on a computer or mobile device. Because so many people are using tools like Zoom, Skype or Teams for personal or professional use, there are plenty of resources to learn how to use these.
Some people are also figuring out ways to venture outside, such as bundling up and sitting around a firepit. Others talk through open windows. It’s still a fun way to connect even if no hugs are allowed.
If you’re looking for reasons to reach out to others, or want to encourage others to reach out to you, National Day Calendar.com has a guide to something fun every day. National Shut-in Visitation Day was Feb. 11, but you can find other reasons to celebrate and bring cheer to others anytime during the year.
You can even acknowledge this day a little late – it’s an opportunity to brighten life for people who feel lonely but are unable to leave their homes.