Stay connected to combat social isolation, loneliness

Alicia Colombo

In the winter months, we often find ourselves spending more time at home, alone. This can affect your health and well-being. Loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher rates of depression, a weakened immune system, heart disease, dementia and early death, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

The following information from the NIA will help you stay connected and determine if you might be at risk of social isolation.

Are you at risk?
Try to stay active and better connected, especially if you:

  • Live alone or can’t leave your home.
  • Feel alone or disconnected with people.
  • Recently had a major loss, such as a divorce or the death of a loved one.
  • Are a caregiver.
  • Lack a sense of purpose in your life.

Ways to stay connected

  • Find an activity that you enjoy or learn something new. You might have fun and also meet people with similar interests.
  • Get moving! Exercise decreases stress, improves mood and increases your energy.
  • Volunteer. You’ll feel better by helping others.
  • Stay in touch with family, friends and neighbors. You can meet in person, virtually (by video chat), or connect over the telephone.
  • Consider adopting or fostering a pet. Animals can be a source of comfort and may also lower stress and blood pressure.

Senior community centers are great places to make new friends and connect with people socially. PCA supports a network of 28 senior centers and satellite meal sites, located in neighborhoods across the city. For information, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040 or visit pcaCares.org/senior-centers. For more information about preventing loneliness and social isolation, visit nia.nih.gov/health/participating-activities-you-enjoy.


Source: National Institute on Aging

Categories: Health Milestones eNews

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