Loneliness is a subjective and unpleasant emotional state characterized by feelings of isolation, disconnection, and perceived rejection from social groups.
It is possible to live alone without experiencing loneliness, and conversely, one can feel lonely even when surrounded by others. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly heightened feelings of loneliness among many older adults. This is particularly noteworthy because chronic loneliness can have detrimental effects on memory, mental and physical health, and overall lifespan. This is further exacerbated by feelings of loneliness.
Here are some key impacts of loneliness:
Elderly are at particular risk for loneliness. It is usually a combination of numerous factors which include:
If you or your loved one is lonely, consider simple plans which you can follow to help increase social connections.
Interventions to reduce loneliness include:
- Enhance social support
- Increase opportunities for social interaction
- Improve social skills
- Address low self esteem
- Address social anxiety
- Schedule visits and set up a recurring schedule
- Consider video chat as a bridge
- Make frequent/regular phone calls to/from family and friends
- Pick up new hobbies and share them with others
- Join similar interest groups