Within normal circumstances related to age, this can cause an older adult to lose connections. This loss of connection has a real impact on a person’s overall health. People need social connections to thrive. About 29% of people 65 and over live alone. The potential of prolonged isolation can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (AARP Foundation 2012) Loneliness is linked to serious health problems and death among older adults. (University of California San Francisco June 2012)
In the Metro East there are approximately 30,000 older adults who have the potential of being isolated or lonely. This is a topic many do not think about and people may not even realize they are experiencing loneliness. In the UK, there is a Ministry for loneliness because they recognize the negative health effects. Loneliness is not a normal part of aging. We need greater awareness that it is a severe problem and many reminders to stay connected with family and friends.
For more information contact AgeSmart at 618-222-2561.