Loneliness May Be a Bigger Public Health Threat Than Smoking or Obesity

The CareMore Health is in seven states. Last year, the group kicked off “Be in the Circle: Be Connected,” an initiative in four states to integrate social connectivity into the primary care setting. When seniors come in for primary care visits, they’re now asked several questions aimed at giving doctors a better sense of the patient’s potential for social isolation: How often do you see friends? How frequently do you go to the grocery store? If a senior is deemed to be at risk for social isolation, they can receive home visits and weekly phone calls from a social worker. Many lonely seniors’ only human interaction is when they visit their doctor’s office, so CareMore took advantage of that by redesigning their care centers to include more social activities such as Zumba classes and group lunches.

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