Social Isolation Increases Risks in Older People

Social Isolation Increases Risks in Older People

Social isolation is associated with a higher risk of death in older people regardless of whether they consider themselves lonely, research suggests.

Based on a study at University College London of 6,500 UK men and women aged over 52 found that being isolated from family and friends was linked with a 26% higher death risk over seven years. “Social isolation is associated with a higher risk of death in older people regardless of whether they consider themselves lonely.”

The Age U.K. organization suggested:

  • Cuts to services for older people are compounding the problem—which will only become more severe over time.
  • Increase of 55-to-64-year-olds living alone has increased by 50 percent.
  • “Emotional support and warmth”  is needed.
  • Provide things like advice, making sure people take their medication and support in helping them to do things.

The study suggests that these practical aspects are quite important for older people’s survival.

Study leader Prof Andrew Steptoe, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London, said: “Social connections can provide emotional support and warmth which is important but they also provide things like advice, making sure people take their medication and provide support in helping them to do things.

“It would suggest that those practical aspects are quite important for older people’s survival.

“There’s been such an increase in people living alone. In the last 15 years, the number of 55 to 64-year-olds living alone has increased by 50%.

“And it might be that people in those circumstances aren’t looking after themselves so well.”

Michelle Mitchell, director general at Age UK, said: “This study shows more clearly than before that being lonely and isolated is not only miserable, it is a real health risk, increasing the risk of early death.”

She added that cuts to local authority budget cuts may exacerbate the problem of isolation for many older people.

“Across the country day care centres, often the only regular social life that many older people enjoy, are closing, social care support which can enable older people to leave the house is being cut down to the bare minimum, and too many older people are hidden behind closed doors struggling to cope.”

Read the full story: BBC.CO.UK/News

Home Instead Senior Care in Mississauga provides in home care and companionship for seniors living alone. If you find your loved one in the throes on loneliness and isolation, we can help. Call now for your free in-home care consultation:  905-521-5500

Home Care Hamilton helping older adults and elderly live independently and safely at home.
Please call 905-521-5500.

Call for a free personalized Care Consultation 905-521-5500

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