Depression On The Rise In Seniors, Combating Holiday Loneliness

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) —  Loneliness in seniors, especially during the holiday season, is a growing concern in the medical community.

Studies shared by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration suggest 43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis and there is a 45% increased risk of mortality in seniors who report feeling lonely.

“Sometimes they have family come and see them, and sometimes they don’t,” said Stanley Dillard, the Activities Assistant for PruittHealt, “So, we’re their family.”

Dillard says PruittHealth holds events like a Christmas gift exchange and Family Night so residents wouldn’t feel lonely during the holidays.

Dillard also runs the center’s choir group, which has 30 members, including Beverly Arnouts, 83, who says she participates in all of the events.

“Someday if you live long enough you’ll be in that position when you’ll be alone,” said Arnouts, “And you look forward to your family visiting or just friends.”

Arnouts is a widow. She has four children, and she spent Christmas with her daughter who lives in York County. But Arnouts says not all residents are as lucky.

Barbara Deptula, the interim Director of Health Services, says as families work more hours, they have less time to spend with seniors.

“Depression and sadness is on the rise for seniors,” said Deptula.

But those at PruittHealth say their center operates like a family.

“This is their home and we’re here for them,” Dillard said.

Because whether you’re eight or 80, everyone wants to feel loved not just on Christmas, but year-round.


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