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11 Shocking Facts About Senior Social Isolation

Senior isolation is a serious issue for people over the age of 65 and their families who want to keep them involved. Here are 11 shocking facts that you may not know about senior isolation and its terrible effects.

1. Senior isolation increases the risk for death. One study surveyed 6,500 men and women aged 52 and older in 2004 and 2005 regarding their social isolation. The researchers monitored mortality rates for participants for more than seven years. They found that mortality rates were higher among socially isolated individuals.

2. Loneliness has a negative effect on physical and mental health, according to a 2009 study, which concluded by saying that staying connected can combat these emotions.

3. Feelings of loneliness increase the risk for cognitive decline and dementia.

4. Social isolation leads to higher rates of elder abuse. One in 10 people over the age of 60 years experience abuse at some time in their life, according to the National Council on Aging, which names social isolation as one of two factors making elders vulnerable to abuse.

5. Socially isolated seniors feel they have a bleak future.

6. Isolation may lead to placement in a nursing home. People who are lonely or have little social contact are one and a half times more likely to be using home care within one year, according to one study.

7. Caregivers of seniors are also at risk for social isolation and its effects. Providing care for a senior is a full-time job, requiring that many caregivers forego social interaction.

8. Feelings of loneliness lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and smoking. These behaviors often lead to health issues, including unhealthy weight gain and cardiovascular problems.

9. Loss of a spouse is a major risk factor for social isolation. Many older people simply do not wish to carry on after they lose the love of their lives.

10. Geographic and transportation challenges lead to social isolation and loneliness. Geographic, physical and cultural barriers prevent one in six seniors from interacting with their peers in the community, according to the National Council on Aging.

11. Technology can help reduce the serious and debilitating effects of senior social isolation. Advances in technology allow seniors to stay connected with family members and friends at the touch of a button. Companies like IndependaTV™ have integrated these features into a television format that seniors can use to stay connected with their families and the communities to reduce social isolation and its shocking effects.

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  • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using IndependaTV. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

    Laura P.