Dangers of Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults

Staying healthy as you age is important, but are you certain you know the habits that can make the biggest impact on your overall health and wellness? Something that might surprise you is how important your friendships and relationships are when it comes to improving your physical, emotional and mental health. Let’s talk more about the serious dangers of isolation and loneliness research has just recently started to point to.

How Common Is Isolation?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic pushed most of us into isolation, loneliness among those older than 55 was on the rise. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that loneliness and isolation in older adults is so common that it is classified as a public health concern. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reports that one fourth of all adults over the age of 65 are considered to be socially isolated. What does this mean for you or your aging loved one? It means that they may be more isolated than you think.

Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that isolation happens slowly over time; meaning, adults can end up experiencing health issues caused by isolation before they even realize they are lonely.

Dangers of Isolation

Isolation and the effects of feelings of loneliness haven’t been consistently studied until the past few decades. What we are learning now demonstrates that isolation and loneliness are clear indicators of overall health and wellness. 

Older adults who are isolated or feel lonely are at a much higher risk of developing serious health conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Rapid cognitive decline
  • Weaker immune system response
  • Premature death

Of course, with the pandemic making socialization opportunities even more difficult, isolation, and its effects, have been even more prominently on display among older adults. Physician offices are reporting higher incidences of depression and anxiety in older patients.

Is Senior Living the Answer?

Even the most active older adults can become isolated or lonely quickly due to shrinking social circles, transportation challenges or other common obstacles. However, retirement communities offer the chance to foster real friendships and meaningful relationships with neighbors nearly every day.

Communities are designed to encourage connections between residents, whether by grabbing lunch together in the community dining room, sitting near one another at the live concert on campus or even traveling together through a community-planned excursion. Life in a retirement community means someone is always popping in to say hello, share a smile and start a conversation, making isolation nearly impossible.

At The Glen, our campus was created to facilitate connections that benefit the health of our residents. Here, you’ll find it is easier to make a new friend over a cup of coffee or by participating in a group fitness program together. There is always someone up for playing a game of cards, catching a new movie or taking a stroll. Then, if your care needs ever increase, you can continue your relationships because we offer a variety of care options all on the same campus.

Say goodbye to loneliness and isolation by saying hello to the lifestyle at The Glen.