We know social isolation and loneliness are detrimental to health, particularly among the older adult population. It’s a problem that seems to be getting worse, according to this recent report from Pew Research.
It found that, on average, U.S. adults over age 60 spend more than half of their waking hours alone and for those who live by themselves, that’s as much as 10 hours a day, compared with about half that rate for people in their 40s and 50s. Continue reading
Social isolation and loneliness are associated with increased mortality in older adults. Social isolation also has been linked to other adverse health effects, including dementia, increased risk for hospital readmission and increased risk of falls. However, research consistently shows that feeling connected and involved benefits both mental and physical health.
Social isolation and loneliness are not quite the same things, although the terms sometimes are used interchangeably. Continue reading
Examining the social factors that can determine health sometimes means taking an unusual look at a subject, peeling back the layers to find something that really highlights how disparities affect people’s actual lives.
That is what veteran journalist Amy Ellis Nutt did in an extraordinary recent story about loneliness as a public health hazard. Appearing on the front page of The Washington Post, the piece takes a deep dive into how increasing isolation around the United States is affecting the health of many. In a new “How I Did It” piece for AHCJ, Nutt explains how she came up with and developed this story idea. Continue reading