06.20.2019

Cross-Sector Collaborations To Decrease Loneliness And Social Isolation In Older Adults

Loneliness—the subjective feeling of being isolated, being left out, and lacking companionship—and social isolation—an objective measure of social networks and social connection—are growing public health epidemics among older Americans. Loneliness and social isolation have enormous health consequences, frequently contributing to worsening chronic disease burden, depression and anxiety, functional and cognitive decline, and even premature death. Among Medicare beneficiaries alone, social isolation is the source of $6.7 billion in additional health care costs annually. Preventing and addressing loneliness and social isolation, therefore, are critically important goals for health care systems, communities, and national policy. To be effective, interventions must account for the complex factors contributing to loneliness and social isolation, as well as the unique features that characterize each individual’s resources and needs.

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