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  • Julie Katz

Older Adults and Loneliness

When loneliness in older adults needs action.


Even if an older adult is capable of living at home, he or she can be socially isolated, especially if transportation is difficult. Spending hours a day alone in front of a television is not good quality of life for anyone.  Even if there is some transportation to go to the doctor or the grocery store, that is not socialization.


Studies have found that lack of socialization can have a negative effect on both mental and physical healthy. It is essential for healthy aging and should not be ignored or dismissed.


Don't dismiss loneliness, or convince yourself that the senior prefers to watch television alone all day. Loneliness and isolation can be lethal. Be proactive about getting up and getting out.

If seniors are capable of getting to a senior center or community center, there are activities he or she can participate in to meet others and keep their mind sharp.  Adult day care is another option, especially for those who have memory loss issues. There are volunteer opportunities at schools and hospitals.

Sometimes moving to a senior apartment is a great alternative. When I ran a senior living apartment, we had a new resident who moved because she was so lonely and relied on her daughter for socialization, calling her dozens of times a day.

 When the woman moved to a senior living apartment building with activities and dinner, she reconnected with old friends from grade school and was always visiting or participating in activities. Her daughter complained she could never reach her mother and had to buy an answering machine just to get her mother to call her!

Don't dismiss loneliness, or convince yourself that the senior prefers to watch television alone all day. Loneliness and isolation can be lethal. Be proactive about getting up and getting out.


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