Aging Carol Marak (0) (681)

Importance of Seniors and Social Connections

Importance of Seniors and Social Connections

A social friendship builds inclusion and connection.

One of the paths to healthy aging includes connecting with peers and building friendships. It’s a known fact, and the effects of isolation are depression and loneliness. And their harm puts an individual at a higher risk for falls (especially the elderly,) chronic diseases, and even early death. Importance of Seniors and Social Connections
One of the paths to healthy aging includes connecting with peers and building friendships. It’s a known fact, and the effects of isolation are depression and loneliness. And their harm puts an individual at a higher risk for falls (especially the elderly,) chronic diseases, and even early death. Importance of Seniors and Social Connections
However, psychologists suggest that loneliness is not the same as being alone; nor does being with other people protect you from feelings of isolation. But psychologist, John Cacioppo, believes the emotion can inflict havoc on the body and brain. Another philosophy insists that loneliness is a failure of social networks. The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely because they don’t have others to take care of them; no social support exists for them.

Social isolation and loneliness are the two biggest risk factors for older adults living alone. Being tucked away in suburbia with minimal access to public transportation is the reason the elderly remain secluded. They can’t drive anywhere; they can’t walk anywhere, and they can’t get any place on their own. They have problems coping with being tucked away and managing their life gets harder when alone.

I hear if frequently when visiting the elder orphan Facebook group. Some members feel very lonely and have difficulty making social connections. The most painful stories to read are the ones that members have after a surgery upon discharge; they have no one to care for them at home. I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that very issue revealed its thorny head for a member because there have been quite a few.

The graying of America and the suburban population is an echo of the demographic shifts in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, the over-65 population will grow two and a half times, to more than 70 million people, and older adults will add up to 20 percent of the population, up from 12.6 percent. Take a look at the frequency that a boomer turns 65 by watching the real-time, digital counter.
The growing numbers of the elderly population in suburbia corresponds with a rising desire among many older adults who want to age at home instead of moving to an institution. As a result, older people live alone and remain stranded in ill-equipped communities to deliver the services they need.

Unfortunately, the elderly are stuck because they never planned for the later years when they bought two-story homes with expansive yards. The distance between them and the neighbors, an area that was once a treasured solitude, now keeps them disjointed from neighborly connections.

However, if we could convince local city leaders and entrepreneurs to shift a little attention away from the young to the old, then maybe the burden of living alone for the elderly could lighten. The numbers are in—they prove the market validity. In three major cities, Dallas, Portland, and Richmond, the percentage of the population 65 and over living alone ranks from 30 to 37. And since boomers turn 65 every 11 seconds or so, get prepared for more.

I don’t have solutions; however, I do know what it will take for people like me, aging alone, to do it safely and independently with the caring support of peers. We need better public transportation or living options that give us more access to the services we require.

However, psychologists suggest that loneliness is not the same as being alone; nor does being with other people protect you from feelings of isolation. But psychologist, John Cacioppo, believes the emotion can inflict havoc on the body and brain. Another philosophy insists that loneliness is a failure of social networks. The lonely get sicker than the non-lonely because they don’t have others to take care of them; no social support exists for them.

Social isolation and loneliness are the two biggest risk factors for older adults living alone. Being tucked away in suburbia with minimal access to public transportation is the reason the elderly remain secluded. They can’t drive anywhere; they can’t walk anywhere, and they can’t get any place on their own. They have problems coping with being tucked away and managing their life gets harder when alone.

I hear if frequently when visiting the elder orphan Facebook group. Some members feel very lonely and have difficulty making social connections. The most painful stories to read are the ones that members have after a surgery upon discharge; they have no one to care for them at home. I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that very issue revealed its thorny head for a member because there have been quite a few.

The graying of America and the suburban population is an echo of the demographic shifts in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that by 2030, the over-65 population will grow two and a half times, to more than 70 million people, and older adults will add up to 20 percent of the population, up from 12.6 percent. Take a look at the frequency that a boomer turns 65 by watching the real-time, digital counter.
The growing numbers of the elderly population in suburbia corresponds with a rising desire among many older adults who want to age at home instead of moving to an institution. As a result, older people live alone and remain stranded in ill-equipped communities to deliver the services they need.

Unfortunately, the elderly are stuck because they never planned for the later years when they bought two-story homes with expansive yards. The distance between them and the neighbors, an area that was once a treasured solitude, now keeps them disjointed from neighborly connections.

However, if we could convince local city leaders and entrepreneurs to shift a little attention away from the young to the old, then maybe the burden of living alone for the elderly could lighten. The numbers are in—they prove the market validity. In three major cities, Dallas, Portland, and Richmond, the percentage of the population 65 and over living alone ranks from 30 to 37. And since boomers turn 65 every 11 seconds or so, get prepared for more.

I don’t have solutions; however, I do know what it will take for people like me, aging alone, to do it safely and independently with the caring support of peers. We need better public transportation or living options that give us more access to the services we require.

Importance of Seniors and Social Connections

About the Author

Carol Marak

Carol Marak, aging alone advocate, columnist, speaker and editor at Seniorcare.com. A former family caregiver, who earned a Fundamentals of Gerontology Certificate from the USC Davis School of Gerontology and writes about personal concerns while growing older.

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