Man sitting by the shore looking at the lake with text "America's Quietest Health Risk"

With today’s technology, staying in touch with family and friends from all over the country has never been easier. With just a click of the mouse, a text message, or email, people can connect with individuals all over the world. However, with all the technology available, there are many seniors who live in complete social isolation and loneliness. Senior isolation is one of the biggest threats to the health of America’s seniors and it remains the most difficult to recognize. The effects are devastating and can be felt physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Senior isolation is a growing concern across the nation. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, about 29% of adults age 65 and older live alone, with the numbers estimated to be much higher now. Senior isolation can have many health effects such as increased risk of depression, anxiety, over eating, malnutrition, and other harmful health issues.

While the younger generation is staying well connected, the elderly are left out. Older family members need to feel connected, loved and wanted. Below are some ideas to encourage social interaction and help take the edge off loneliness.
• Learn computer skills to Skype with family and friends
• Take up a hobby
• Join a senior center
• Adopt a pet
• Have more family get-togethers
• Ask a friend to dinner and a movie
• Attend a church
• Volunteer

The important thing to remember is that if signs of isolation are settling in, the best thing is to start encouraging more activities and help seniors maintain an active social life.

Source:

Andrew W. Roberts, Stella U. Ogunwole, Laura Blackeslee, and Megan A. Rabe (2018, October). The Population 65 Years and Older in the United States: 2016. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/acs/ACS-38.pdf

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