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Senior loneliness is shortening lifespans

OMAHA, Neb.Loneliness, which affects one in three aging adults, is a serious epidemic among seniors in the U.S. According to a National Poll on Healthy Aging, chronic loneliness can impact one’s memory, physical well-being, mental health and life expectancy.

The symptoms of loneliness are complex, and while its signs can be concealed, they often come during a change of circumstance in a person’s life. Retiring from a career and missing the social contact that came with it, health issues that prevent people from participating in things they’ve always enjoyed or the death of a loved one can lead to isolation.

According to the AARP, potential signs of loneliness can include poor eating habits, loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance and significant clutter in the home, as well as a general lack of interest or withdrawal.

Jennifer Knecht, vice president of marketing and communications at Immanuel Communities, emphasizes the importance of combatting the senior loneliness epidemic. “Loneliness not only lessens seniors’ quality of life; it shortens lifespans. Raising awareness of and fighting against this loneliness epidemic is one of Immanuel Communities’ top priorities. A sense of community can make a world of difference in seniors’ lives.”

Immanuel Communities, Nebraska’s longtime nonprofit leader in retirement communities and services, is dedicated to providing personalized lifestyle approaches and communities that help seniors connect and thrive.

Immanuel Communities offers the following tips to aging adults and their loved ones to combat loneliness:

Get to know the facts. Learn more about the loneliness epidemic and its effects.

Take the online loneliness assessment – https://www.immanuel.com/lonelinessassessment. Find out if you or your senior loved one is at risk. Thisassessment has been provided by Daniel Russell, Ph.D., one of the creators of the UCLA Loneliness Scale, to determine your loneliness quotient. 

Learn what help is available. Living choices, programs and activities can help lessen feelings of loneliness.

Ask for support. A senior living consultant can help guide you.

Make the choice. Which solution helps foster feelings of liveliness and connection?

“Finding companionship is particularly important for seniors,” Knecht said. “We hear from our residents that our programs give them a social connection they didn’t have before. No matter what an aging adult’s season in life and personal needs are, finding thoughtfully planned living options, inviting wellness programs, engaging social opportunities and spiritual support can help senior loved ones live large and leave loneliness behind.”

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