The AARP Foundation’s Isolation Impact team created a list of 7 things to Know about isolation for older adults in the USA.
1. Isolation is a failure to connect with a basic social urge. The study concluded that social interaction enabled humans to form social networks and to evolve into the dominant species.
2. Isolation is not a mental illness. However, it can affect mental and physical health. It can be as detrimental to health as smoking or obesity.
3. Caregiving can cause isolation. The AARP study found that caregivers give up time for family and friends, don't exercise enough or eat well. They are prone to depression.
4. Not enough close friends. Researchers found that 25 years ago, people reported an average of three close friends. Now, nearly a quarter of respondents said they have no friends to confide in.
5. Living alone is a key factor to isolation. The number of people living alone, age 65 and over, is on the rise.
6. LGBT adults are at greater risk for social isolation. This leads to decreased social support and financial security. The LGBT community has lived through a history of discrimination.
7. Transportation is a necessity. To get out of the house or apartment, older adults need available, cheap transportation to connect with friends, the medical community, shop and participate with others.