Like most Americans, you feel busier than ever nowadays. In addition to working a full-time job, you have a family to raise. You also have social, cultural and religious obligations you must fulfill every single week. All of this leaves you with precious little time to connect with your elderly parents.
Loneliness is a massive problem for seniors in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 25% of those over the age of 65 live in social isolation. While thinking about your parents’ loneliness probably makes you sad, there are three good reasons you should not ignore it.
1. Health problems
Those who are experiencing social isolation and loneliness have a much more significant chance of dying prematurely. Likewise, lonely seniors are prone to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious ailments.
2. Undue influence
If your parents are putting together an estate plan, loneliness can skew their worldview. It also can allow an undue influencer to swindle them. That is, if an undue influencer befriends your parents, he or she may take advantage of them. This may cause you to lose much or all of your inheritance.
3. Your future peace of mind
Eventually, your parents will no longer be alive. If you know your mother and father are struggling with loneliness and do little to assist, you may have to live with a lifetime’s worth of guilt.
You probably do not need to upend your busy life to help your parents cope with loneliness and social isolation. Ultimately, simply by making a couple of weekly phone calls or some regular visits, you can protect your parents and yourself from the potentially catastrophic consequences of loneliness.