Are You at Risk for Social Isolation?

Did you know one in six seniors faces physical, cultural or geographic barriers that isolate them from their peers and communities? Health problems, reduced mobility, loss of a driver’s license and sensory issues can make maintaining social connections more difficult.

Some seniors don’t even realize they are lonely. Feelings of sadness and isolation go unrecognized for what they are, and many never express these feelings to loved ones or caregivers.

Are you at risk?

Answer the following questions, and tally your results to see if you or someone close to you is at risk for social isolation.

Senior with a hobby

1.     Do you have hobbies you enjoy? Yes or No

Pursuing a new hobby like taking a cooking class or joining a book club is a great way to meet new people and explore new interests.

Creativity doesn’t have an expiration date. Read more about why pursuing creative hobbies as we age may be just what the doctor ordered

2.     In the past three months, I’ve driven (or been driven by someone else) more than 20 miles. Yes or No

Whether you drive yourself or use a service like Uber, Lyft and Go Go Grandparent, getting out is an important part of staying connected.

For more ride-sharing ideas, click here

Senior with a Pet

3.     Do you have pets? Yes or No

Looking for companionship or a reason to get outside more?  Maybe you need to widen your social circle to include furry friends. Along with the simple joy of having a relationship with an animal, research suggests that owning a pet can have health benefits, too.

Click here to learn more about the health benefits of pets.

4.     I take walks at least two times a week. Yes or No

Joining a dance or yoga class or taking a walk or bike ride with neighbors or friends in a local park can help you stay active and connected.

Learn more about how movement is good medicine.

5.     I see my closest family members at least once a week. Yes or No

Using video technology such as Facetime, Skype or Google Hangouts can help you stay connected with those you love, even when you can’t visit with them in person.

Learn more about social wellness and the value of a strong social circle.

6.     I’ve been very fortunate. I haven’t lost anyone close to me in the last year. Yes or No

Losing a spouse or a close friend can make you feel alone or isolated. Most cities have counseling services available through non-profit organizations, and The Council on Aging can be a great resource to help you find these services.

Read more about the value of the time we share with those we love

Senior eating with friends

7.     I eat meals with family and friends most of the time. Yes or No

Plan standing lunch or dinner dates with friends and family in your area so that you have plans to look forward to throughout the week. Maybe even try out new restaurants in your area or start a dinner club.

See more tips for healthy eating as we age.  

8.     I have several meaningful relationships in my life. Yes or No

Sometimes families and friends get busy and don’t stop to realize that someone they love is lonely. Don’t be afraid to let those around you know that you could use some extra help or that you’re feeling isolated or alone.  

You may be helping them as much as they’re helping you.  Read more about the unique gifts grandparents bring to families

Scoring

If you answered no to two or more of the questions above, you or a loved one may be at risk for isolation.

Other signs a loved one might be lonely include talking about friends and family members they haven’t seen in a while, withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed and skipping meals or not eating enough.

Next steps

Since many seniors are unaware that they are lonely, friends, family and caregivers must step in when a loved one is experiencing risk factors. Check out these tips for staying connected.

Find a Brookdale Community Near You
Find a Brookdale Community Near You
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