People are built to live in concert with others and our health suffers when social needs are not being met. Yet social isolation, or lack of social contact, is all too common. The coronavirus pandemic has made matters worse because we are asking older adults and people at-risk of becoming infected to distance themselves from others. And now that we are in the holiday season feelings of loneliness may become even more pronounced. Practice physical distancing but not social isolation.
Social isolation and desolation are known to have health risks and health care costs. The good news is that there are simple ways in which to alleviate these conditions. Friendly visits or phone calls and volunteering to deliver meals are easy and effective ways to let older adults in your community know they are not alone.
Older adults should be encouraged to think beyond their usual circle of friends and family. Saying “hello” to the mail carrier or calling neighbors can...
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