Feb 3, 2013

Social Isolation

"People who are socially isolated -- defined as having fewer than three close confidants, not participating in community groups or clubs, and having no religious affiliation -- were 2 1/2 times likelier to have elevated C-reactive protein levels than people who routinely sought the company of others.  Social isolation is a chronically stressful experience that may lead to increases in harmful inflammation throughout the body," Social Science & Medicine journal study

Social isolation is a hazard for those of us who are caregivers and for the care receiver.  Dwane sometimes complains of being lonely, but, actually, he has far more built-in social opportunities than I do.  That is an upside for him being in assisted living.  When I was trying to do all the caregiving at home and because he was extremely resistant to anyone coming into the home to relieve me, it was difficult for us to have enough social interaction.  The opportunity for social interaction is there for him now, if he chooses to engage.  For those of us who are caregivers we need to extend ourselves to have social interaction, and that is easier for some people than others.  If you are an extrovert, it is probably easier for you to initiate social interactions, than if you are an introvert.  Regardless of the ease, it is important for all of us to have significant social connections.  Do you have at least three close confidants?  Do you participate in community activities?  Do you have a religious affiliation?  Your health depends on having interaction that is meaningful and supportive.  You can join or create a walking group, book club, church group, or volunteer in an uplifting environment.  Let's be certain to create social connections that support us.

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