Senior Isolation During the Holidays

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About one in five seniors reports being isolated, said Dallas Jamison, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Tens of millions of adults are chronically lonely, and a growing body of research has linked that isolation to disability, cognitive decline, and early death. Still another line of research suggests that loneliness and isolation doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

During the holidays, the impact of isolation and loneliness are greatly amplified. The holidays are known for family, togetherness, giving, and sharing. For a senior in isolation all of these warm holiday traditions are literally out of their reach.

Seniors in isolation are also more likely to develop Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mayo Clinic staff describes SAD as a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping energy and again increasing feelings of sadness and loneliness.

“This is a public health issue of growing concern,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of the AARP Foundation. Stigma plays a large role in preventing seniors from seeking help. “Who wants to admit that, ‘I’m isolated and I’m lonely?’ It evokes feelings of shame and embarrassment” said Dallas Jamison.

Humans evolved to live in social groups, and we’re most comfortable when we feel part of a group or community. Make a Solano County senior feel like they are a part of our community by Adopting-a-Senior this holiday season. For $20 you can feed a senior for one month; for $120 you can feed a senior for six months; and for $240 you can feed a senior for a whole year.

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