It can be so difficult to see your elderly family member pulling away from events and people that she’s always enjoyed in the past. Understanding what might be contributing to her withdrawal and isolation can help you to find solutions for her.
She’s Dealing with Physical Challenges
Physical challenges, especially ones that affect your senior’s existing health issues, are difficult for your senior to cope with on multiple levels. From a social standpoint, health issues can be embarrassing or simply difficult to manage, which can make being around other people more challenging. It might feel easier for your senior to just stay home or to not have anyone over.
Transportation Is a Problem
When your elderly family member can’t drive any longer, that causes difficulties in other areas of her life. Everything becomes a little more challenging, especially social engagements. In the past, your elderly family member might have met up with or encountered people she knows while running errands. If she’s not getting out much, this limits her engagement with others.
Communicating with Others Is More Difficult
For a variety of reasons, communication can be more difficult now, too. Your elderly family member may be having trouble with her hearing or her sight, which can cause her to feel as if communication is more difficult. She may also be experiencing problems with her memory or in expressing her thoughts. Those difficulties can cause her to withdraw.
She’s Experiencing Cognitive Difficulties
Cognitive changes, whether they’re from dementia or from another cause, can be another reason your elderly family member is a little more withdrawn. She may not even know for certain what her brain is doing, but the feeling that her brain is functioning differently than she’s used to can cause her to self-isolate.
Her Mental Health Is Changing
Isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, but anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues can also feed into isolation. Your senior’s mental health is a critical part of her ability and desire to spend time around other people. If she’s not feeling capable of being around other people on an emotional level, that can cause her to avoid people for longer than she expects to do so.
Finding a way to manage social isolation is crucial. In-home care providers can offer hands-on assistance to your elderly family member while also offering companionship that she may find invaluable. Care management professionals can help you to determine if other solutions might also be helpful.