Lonely Seniors Are at Risk
Isolation—perhaps due to several factors—is a common problem for many elderly people and studies show that loneliness is linked to serious health problems. Older adults who are lonely are at increased risk for memory loss, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, poor sleep, and physical inactivity.
According to a study authored by the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco in 2012, 43 percent of people over the age of 60 feel lonely. Seniors who are lonely—whether or not they live with others or suffer from depression—have a higher risk of dying than those who are not lonely or isolated.
Illness, hearing loss, limited mobility, and life changes—retirement or the loss of a spouse, for example—can contribute to loneliness in older adults. Organizations like Little Brothers, Friends of the Elderly, which is based in San Francisco and operates in several U.S. cities, work to relieve isolation and loneliness among seniors by pairing them with volunteers who visit them regularly.
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