February 24, 2020

How Social Isolation Hurts Portland Seniors

Cigna, a global health service company, surveyed 20,000 U.S. adults about Loneliness, and it showed that feelings of Loneliness and social isolation are growing.

The study based questions on the "UCLA loneliness scale that measures and assesses subjective feelings of Loneliness."  
Here are the facts reported in the East New York News*:
"Respondents reported feeling alone or left out almost half of the time."
"One in four rarely or never feel as if there are people who truly understand them. "
"Two in five feel that their relationships are inconsequential and that they are isolated from others (43 percent)."
"One in five reports they rarely or never feel close to other people (20 percent) or that there is anyone they can talk to (18 percent)."

The article findings indicate people are more lonely than ever. Loneliness in seniors is even more concerning because it can easily have an impact on frail older adults' health. Isolated seniors are at risk of depression that can make them vulnerable to illnesses including, heart disease, alcoholism, diabetes, and possibly cancer.
Chris Woolston, M.S., East New York News, tells the story about a Portland Oregon woman, Marge Burger, who in her 70s lost her husband and found herself socially isolated. The widow explains how social invitation decreased when she became single and that she found herself isolated and at home alone.
Woolston's article shows how socializing helped Burger with her loneliness and can save a person's life. She reports that "In a 13-year study of almost 3,000 senior citizens, Harvard researchers found that social activities such as playing bingo or attending church may be just as important to survival as regular exercise."  
Socialization can add quality and time to a senior's life. "Friendships and activities reduce stress, help people feel worthy and needed, and stimulate the mind." Woolston goes on to site The Annals of Internal Medicine that states, "strong social contacts offer powerful protection against the mental declines that often go along with aging." She also sites a Spanish study published in the journal BMC Geriatrics in 2007, where the research shows "having a confidant is linked to a 25 percent less risk of dying prematurely than in an older adult without a strong friendship."

BrightStar Care's companionship services help prevent loneliness. Our Companion Care keeps seniors engaged and safe.

We offer care around the clock to Portland senior providing private duty home health care services, including companionship, personal care, transportation, medication assistance, and skilled nursing. We proudly serve Beaverton, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Gaston, Newberg, Portland, Hillsboro, and Forest Grove areas.
For more information on how BrightStar Care supports seniors and families, and to learn more about our companionship and support for Portland Seniors – Please Click Here.

Friendships and Seniors - Consumer HealthDay. https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/aging-1/misc-aging-news-10/friendships-and-seniors-646488.html
Americans are lonelier than ever — but 'Gen Z' may be the .... https://www.nbcnews.com/better/pop-culture/americans-are-lonelier-ever-gen-z-may-be-loneliest-ncna873101