Helping Seniors Avoid the Loneliness Epidemic

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LonelinessI love the article published in our corporate newsletter this month. I think it’s a very appropriate topic for most families and caregivers – loneliness. We should consider the affects of loneliness when it comes to our parents and family members who may either live alone or live without much activity around them. Please take a look.

Not so long ago, as families created a plan for the well-being of older loved ones, they typically asked questions like “Is Mom’s home safe?” “Can Dad manage his medications?” “Are the folks eating right?” “Can they keep up with home maintenance?”

But today we know that another question is just as important: “How can we keep Mom socially connected?”

Recent research studies tell the tale—social isolation leads to depression and loneliness, both very bad for our health. In March 2018, AARP noted that people who have a circle of family and friends tend to be physically healthier, with better brain health than people who experience loneliness and isolation.

Social connections can even lengthen our lives. The Gerontological Society of America devoted an entire recent issue of their Public Policy & Aging Report to the problem of social isolation among older adults. (Some of the articles are free to read online; you can see them here.) One study, conducted by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., of Brigham Young University, found that “being socially connected significantly reduces the risk for premature mortality, and that lacking social connectedness significantly increases risk. Moreover, these risks exceed those associated with many risk factors that receive substantial public health resources: obesity, air pollution, smoking, and physical inactivity.” READ MORE.