The COVID-19 pandemic has put us all under tremendous stress. Social isolation, loneliness, fear of getting sick, an uncertain economy … the list goes on. According to a mid-July Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, 53% of adults in the United States reported negative mental health effects due to concern and anxiety about the novel coronavirus.
One demographic at especially high risk of mental health issues is older adults, due to their higher probability of contracting the disease, known mental and physical health consequences of isolating, and existing co-morbidities. “The share of older adults (ages 65 and up) reporting negative mental health impacts has increased since March,” according to KFF. Continue reading
Ever thought about starting a podcast? You’re not alone. There are an estimated 750,000 podcasts, and 30 million episodes available across various platforms, according to Podcast Insights. Podcasts come in all lengths, formats, and subjects imaginable — and maybe even some you’ve never thought about.
But doing a podcast well and gaining a steady audience require a little more than you and your beer buddy hanging out in your basement with a microphone and recording device. How to best break through and get noticed? Continue reading
Covering mental health issues among older adults first means understanding the differences between issues of social isolation, loneliness, depression, and the effect of cognitive decline. Each issue may affect a person or several may be occurring simultaneously. Don’t interchange the terms however, because they’re not the same condition.
At last week’s Journalism Workshop on Aging and Health in Los Angeles, panelists stressed the importance of getting it right. You can be alone, but not lonely, or socially isolated. You can be socially isolated but not lonely. You can be either, or both. Continue reading
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