Reconnecting Those in
There are many reasons why someone age 50 and older becomes isolated from family and community. It could be an injury or illness; the loss of reliable transportation; a spouse or partner who has Alzheimer’s or another illness that requires constant care; or a job loss that makes the person feel like he or she doesn’t matter. And as a crisis gets worse, it’s easy to become homebound, disconnected, overwhelmed, stranded — or in one word, isolated.
At AARP Foundation, we understand that combating and preventing isolation in people 50 and over isn’t about fixing one thing. We have to look at all the connections that make up a person’s life, and come up with ways to make sure connections stay strong, even in times of stress and crisis. That’s why AARP Foundation is taking the lead in working with some of the best researchers across the country. Because the more we understand about isolation, the better we can address the problem in innovative and more effective ways.
In September, we awarded two-year grants to help nonprofit organizations create better services and systems that identify and reach out to isolated older people. Learn about the grantees. Read
In her latest post, AARP Health blogger Candy Sagon details the findings of a recent study that indicates being alone may actually be hazardous to your health even if you don't feel lonely. Read
Medical expert Dr. Mehmet Oz said he now insists that all the patients he operates on bring someone who loves them with them to the hospital. Your heart needs a reason to keep beating, he said, and isolation can weaken your immune system. Read
Programs & Services
(Sacramento Bee, Mar. 20) - The Sacramento Bee reports, "According to AARP, several studies suggest that isolation is a major health risk," and notes that experts advise advance planning to ensure that "you or your loved one will have important connections and support sysytems in place as the aging process continues." Read
(Ventura County Star, Calif., Jan. 15) - "Gen Silent" follows the stories of six LGBT seniors needing care but afraid, for various reasons, to ask for help. The documentary mentions how AARP and other organizations are offering help, such as providing information on LGBT-friendly care and other resources. Read