Social isolation and loneliness in senior individuals pose serious health risks that affect a large number of people in the United States every year. These factors put people at greater risk for dementia and other health conditions. According to this article, more than ⅓ of adults over age 45 feel lonely. Nearly 25% of adults over 65 are considered to be socially isolated. So, what can you do to keep from succumbing to isolation as you age?
Social Isolation as You Age
What is Loneliness and Social Isolation?
Simply put, loneliness is the feeling of being alone, often regardless of social interactions. Social isolation, on the other hand, is a lack of social interactions or opportunities for connectivity.
Why Do People Become Socially Isolated?
Social isolation can occur due to a number of events, but often these events become more common as we age. These can include:
- Death of a spouse
- Death of a friend
- Family living far away
- Becoming more reclusive with age
Health Risks of Loneliness
Though it is difficult to measure loneliness and isolation in exact amounts, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that many older individuals suffer from one or both conditions. The health risks of isolation and loneliness are:
- Increased risk of premature death
- 50% increase in dementia
- Increase in heart disease
- Higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide
How to Cope with and Avoid Social Isolation
Your health care provider may assess your risk of isolation and loneliness as you age. However, the following are resources that might help you cope with isolation:
- Area Agencies on Aging
- Eldercare Locator
- National Council on Aging
- Social Media Platforms
Using these resources can help you combat the negative impact of isolation. To learn more about the benefits of social living, check out this article.
Looking for ways technology can help you stay connected in retired life? Check out our newest eBook!
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