Editor’s note: This is the second article in a series published on McKnight’s Home Care about how loneliness and isolation are affecting seniors at home. It stems from writer Diane Eastabrook’s participation in the 2021 Age Boom Academy, a free training fellowship of the Columbia Journalism School and the Mailman School of Public Health.
With Americans increasingly aging in place, social isolation and loneliness could become as dangerous to seniors as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Last year, the National Academy of Sciences reported 40% of people over age 65 said they were lonely; 25% said they were socially isolated.
It’s a problem care providers and caregivers will need to address, according to geriatrician Carla Perissinotto, MD. She has researched social isolation and loneliness among seniors and encounters it frequently as the director of the Care at Home program at the University of California San Francisco, which offers home-based primary care to people 65 and older.