Loneliness Among Older Adults: “The Aging Problem We Don’t Talk About”

Should loneliness among older adults be considered a public health issue?

lonelyelderIn a recent article, Next Avenue, a national service for America’s 50+ population, shined a light on a common aging problem that tends to be ignored—loneliness.

According to the article, The Campaign to End Loneliness, a London-based charity working to address this problem, estimates that one million citizens in the UK suffer from feelings of isolation and points to research to defend their position that it should in fact be considered a public health issue. It not only affects us mentally, but physically as well, often impacting other health conditions. “The reality is that loneliness and isolation are both a metaphysical disruption – we are social beings and thrive with true connections to others – and a health problem. Increasing evidence points to an association of strong social connections with both increased well being in later life and longevity,” explained Sarah H. Kagan, PhD, RN, professor of Gerontological Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kagan often addresses issues similar to this in her column on “Myths of Aging.” She stresses the idea that happiness among older adults tends to be significantly higher in those who maintain healthy social relationships, and at a population level, these individuals with closer relationships tend to live longer. Essentially, this is the central mission of her work—to help the aging community not only to live longer, but to live happier and healthier as well.

Read more in the full Next Avenue Article here: The Aging Problem We Don’t Talk About

Image credit: WitthayaPhonsawat via Freedigitalimages.net

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