The number of older adults age 65 and older is growing, and many are socially isolated and regularly feel lonely. The coronavirus outbreak brought even more challenges due to health considerations and the need to practice physical distancing.
Loneliness and social isolation are different, but related. Loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated. Social isolation is the lack of social contacts and having few people to interact with regularly. You can live alone and not feel lonely or socially isolated, and you can feel lonely while being with other people.
Older adults are at higher risk for social isolation and loneliness due to changes in health and social connections that can come with growing older, hearing, vision, memory loss, disability, trouble getting around and/or the loss of family and friends.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining safe distancing precautions has been challenging for everyone — even people who are otherwise well connected with large supportive social networks.
Public health guidelines to keep physical distance from others have slowed the spread of COVID-19, but they have also made it harder for people to see family and friends. Older adults are at greater risk of COVID-19, but it is also critically important for them to maintain active social connections. Reach out by phone, video, text, email, social media or letter to help everyone stay connected during this challenging time. Learn more at www.coronavirus.gov.
Disability Network Northern Michigan is the first stop for people with disabilities and their families in northern Michigan. Our mission is to promote personal empowerment and positive social change for people with disabilities. We educate and connect people with disabilities to resources while advocating for social change in an accessible and welcoming community. Disability Network is providing services to customers and community members via phone, email and online. Our office is closed to walk-in business until further notice. We welcome you to virtually join us for peer support and connection with our weekly Zoom online events. Please see our website event page for Zoom online event details!
National Institute on Aging | Social Isolation and Loneliness Outreach Toolkit
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