Loneliness is a feeling of isolation. We’ve all experienced loneliness, at one time or another. For most of us, it’s just temporary. But for many older people, being isolated and lonely is a constant reality.
According to recent studies, 43% of people aged 65 or older say they feel lonely some or all the time. People can become socially isolated for a variety of reasons, such as getting older or weaker, distance from family, leaving the workplace, the deaths of spouses and friends, or through disability or illness. Loneliness is associated with physical, emotional, and psychological health impacts such as greater risk for cardiovascular disease, depression, and memory problems.
What can we do?
Make a phone call, stop by, schedule a video chat. Ask if they need anything – groceries, supplies for a hobby, their driveway or walkway shoveled. Invite them to an activity or to join you for coffee. Set a schedule to reach out consistently. They’ll benefit from human contact – and so will you.
To help prevent isolation, it is important to get in touch and stay in touch. The simple act of reaching out and showing you care can make a world of difference for someone who is lonely.
StudentsCare volunteers are making a difference every day in the lives of isolated seniors. Our Senior Buddy Program was launched in April 2020, to help alleviate loneliness and isolation among this vulnerable population. Through this program, we partner with senior living facilities to connect isolated seniors with our trained and caring college student “Buddies” who offer weekly visits. Offering support and resources with compassion and care, we give older adults and their families a sense of comfort and reassurance that promotes hope and healing.
Want to know more about how you can make a difference in the life of a lonely older person in your community? Reach out to StudentsCare and learn more about our SeniorBuddy Program.