a) Risk Factors of Social Isolation
The risk factors of social isolation are made up of the following: Individual, Community and Societal (Sarah, 2015).
1) Individual Factors
This is due to individual characteristics and life transition. The elderly may be physically challenged due to disability or facing financial difficulties which made them inferior due to their situation. Seniors often struggle with physical ailments that make it difficult for them to get out and walk, go shopping, or catch the train to visit a friend. Their physical condition keeps them isolated and worsens their mental health (Adelphi, 2017).
After the death of a spouse, the elderly would normally live alone. It is likely after they experienced loss of kin, they also lost the meaning of life. They tend to be affected in terms of health and mentally. If all these problems are left untreated, it will lead to dementia and suicidal thoughts. Most of these elderly are not able to take care of themselves.
There also examples of children who have moved away, or may be too busy with their own lives to come and visit often. As these elderly are not able to work, so they don’t have a reason to leave their home except for essentials. Due to these reasons, they may go for days without seeing or speaking to anyone.
That is where social isolation begins. If the elderly has little contact with other people it can lead to sadness, loneliness, and depression. As the depression deepens, the elderly would feel less desire to get some fresh air and interact with people. It becomes a vicious cycle. The loneliness turns into depression, and the depression keeps the person isolated and lonely.
Based on the studies that was released last year, they found that feeling lonely would increase the risk of the person dying by 34 per cent over a four-year period, compared to those who were not lonely. The number of single elderly who lived alone and aged 65 above has nearly