Toronto Functional Medicine Centre is raising awareness about the impact that loneliness has on the nation’s seniors. The Toronto-based clinic recently published a blog post titled “Functional Medicine Toronto Insight: How Isolation Affects Older Adults” which does a deep dive into the topic and suggests lifestyle changes that seniors can make to address the problem.
The blog post says that loneliness may trigger long-term health issues such as heart disease and chronic symptoms such as stress while contributing to chronic conditions like Type II diabetes. The Toronto Functional Medicine Centre also shares a relevant quote from the Institute of Functional Medicine offering insight on social isolation that says, “Compared to other age groups, isolation and loneliness may be more harmful to the physical, mental, and emotional health outcomes of older adults, who may have reduced mobility and daily activity engagement or could be managing multiple chronic conditions and mental health challenges.”
Social isolation also affects seniors differently based on several factors that may or may not be within their control. These factors include being over the age of 80, living alone, having poor health, being diagnosed with an array of diseases such as heart disease and chronic kidney disease, having no regular contact with family members, changes in the family dynamic, low or no opportunities for transportation, low income, life changes such as the death of a loved one, retirement, and others, being in the role of a caregiver, unawareness or a lack of education on local services, having little education, and being an immigrant to Canada.
The clinic also highlighted the results of a study that investigated whether the issue is widespread enough to be considered a public health matter. The five-year study on loneliness and health care in COPD patients reported by the Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggested that treating social isolation in an outpatient setting may correspond to lowering the number of emergency room visits and enhancing the quality of life of the most vulnerable seniors.
To help affected seniors fight social isolation, the blog post recommends making lasting lifestyle changes. The first step is reaching out to primary care health care providers, including functional medicine practitioners, who may address the issue using multiple approaches, both physiologically and psychologically. Seniors with mobility issues are urged to find practitioners who offer virtual sessions for at-home support.
Next, the blog post encourages seniors to switch to healthier eating habits to avoid health status decline. Its suggestions include eliminating processed foods and takeout and instead transitioning to a nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory Mediterranean diet. These suggestions are backed up by an article published in the Public Health Nutrition journal that says, “…[I]individuals experiencing [food insecurity] have increased risks of weight abnormalities, anemia, showing adverse development, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and cancer.”
Seniors may also benefit from taking up mind-body fitness regimens that can address symptoms linked to depression. Mind-body techniques such as yoga and tai-chi have been extensively studied and the corresponding evidence suggests that they may lessen chronic disease risks, boost longevity, and promote healthful aging. The Institute for Functional Medicine also recommends supplementing such mind-body techniques with aerobic and resistance exercise routines.
Finally, seniors who want to explore the possibilities offered by integrative and functional medicine can approach the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre for a treatment plan custom-designed for their needs. The Toronto-based clinic may consider a wide range of therapies including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, intravenous drip therapies, and more. Apart from addressing the health effects of social isolation, integrative and functional medicine may also be applied to a wide range of health concerns including digestive issues, cellular health, hormonal health, adrenal fatigue, abdominal pain, and others.
Readers are urged to check out Toronto Functional Medicine Centre’s insight on other similar topics, such as the recent article on the effects of exposure to molds on health, on its website. People can contact them through the phone at (416) 968-6961, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Tuesday and Thursdays; and from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on alternating Saturdays.
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Toronto Functional Medicine Centre
Toronto Functional Medicine Centre
162 Cumberland St 222 A
Toronto, ON M5R 1A8