Loneliness can unfortunately hit us all, but seniors are especially vulnerable. Social isolation and loneliness are experienced by people across the United States every day for a variety of reasons, such as leaving the workplace, getting older or weaker, experiencing illness or disability, or through the deaths of friends and loved ones. Feelings of being left alone can lead to all types of problems including depression and, even worse, a serious decline in overall health and wellbeing. But there are ways to overcome issues caused by social isolation or loneliness.

Health Risks

Studies have shown a direct correlation between social isolation and poor health. Loneliness affects people in different ways, and is associated with:

  • 50% increase in risk of dementia
  • 29% increase in risk of heart disease
  • 32% increase in risk of stroke

Loneliness also increases risks of anxiety and depression, and often carries a stigma that can make people reluctant to seek help or support.  According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM):

  • 33% of all adults 45+ feel lonely
  • 25% of all adults 65+ are socially isolated

How to Get Help

It’s always good to see a doctor when you have any ailment, and loneliness and social isolation should be addressed in a similar fashion. Doctors can not only assess any health issues caused from isolation, but can also direct you to an appropriate organizational resource. A few examples include:

 AARP – this well-known group provides information and access to important local community tools https://www.aarp.org/

National Institute on Aging – provides material to help address and manage social isolation and loneliness https://www.nia.nih.gov/

National Council on Aging – connects people directly with non-profit groups, businesses, and local governments to offer community services and programs https://www.ncoa.org/

Darien Senior Center – amazing lunches with special pricing, a robust schedule of unique programs, and opportunities to socialize with seniors http://www.darienct.gov/content/28025/28847/default.aspx

Seniors living in Darien are not immune to issues of loneliness, and in addition to the Senior Center, At Home In Darien offers a list of services for seniors that includes some trustworthy and friendly volunteers who are available to visit with you and provide a friendly ear, lively conversation, and some well needed companionship. Please call us at (203) 655-2227 and we can map out a plan to provide a bit of social interaction that might help drive away some of that loneliness. And if you aren’t already receiving our monthly calendar of events, call us and we will add you to our mailing list! Click here for our latest calendar of events https://athomeindarien.org/monthly-calendar-of-events/