Combating loneliness in seniors

Starting out at birth and evolving throughout life we know that close friendships provide a very important and strong foundation of compassion and trust for most people.

Socialization is even more important as we grow older.

As we age, and particularly following retirement, the amount of social interaction we have with others declines because of reduced contact with other people, such as colleagues from work.

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Interactions reduce, too, with the loss of friends and family members after people pass away.

We often think of retirement as the "golden years" but this time is not so golden for many who suddenly find themselves plagued with chronic illness.

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Many seniors start to become more isolated because of these losses whether they are due to deaths, displacement due to moves, retirement, or from physical deficits.

Experts said that certain types of social interactions can affect cognitive health.

One study found that cognitive abilities declined 70 percent more slowly in individuals who had frequent social connections compared to those who had little social contact with others.

Family members frequently provide social support for seniors, but that's not always the case.

For seniors who are widowed or live far from loved ones, finding other ways to socialize can be necessary.

Active adult centers are great places for seniors to get connected with others who have similar interests.

For those who are truly shut in, we have a number of amazing resources in the community that wraps their arms around these seniors to help with loneliness.

If you are a caregiver for a senior, please connect with us on Caregivers Corner and follow our Caregivers Corner page on Facebook.

More helpful tips can be found on ABC11's Caregivers Corner section.

Those looking to connect with resources in the community can reach out to Transitions GuidingLights at (919) 371-2062 or by sending an email to

Its services are free to the community.
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