The Montgomery County Commission on Aging is offering information about the causes, health risks and resources to combat social isolation and loneliness among older adults. The fact sheet Social Isolation and Loneliness: Facts for Older Adults provides resources and websites for those with who feel lonely and isolated, as well as their caregivers.
The fact sheet is the product of research done by the Commission’s task force that hosted the May 2021 public forum on Countering Social Isolation and Loneliness of older adults. The information states that there is a greater risk to people who find themselves unexpectedly isolated due to the loss or illness of a loved one, a lack of mobility, worsening vision or hearing problems, and/or people who have limited access to transportation.
“We know that there are many factors that can contribute to older adults feeling lonely and isolated,” said Odile Brunetto, chief of Aging and Disability Services in the County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “There are multiple factors, including the ongoing pandemic, the shortening of days as we approach the winter months, the upcoming holiday season, and economic or personal hardships. I want all our seniors to know that they do not need to suffer in silence. Help and resources are here.”
The consequences of social distancing and isolation brought on by the COVID-19 health crisis have been widespread across the mental health spectrum. In addition, research has linked social isolation and loneliness to poorer cognitive function and higher risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Diminished social activity and excessive time spent being alone may lead to a decline in the ability to do everyday tasks such as, but not limited to, driving, paying bills, taking medicine and cooking.
The Commission on Aging was established in 1974 and authorized by the Older American Act Its role is to advise County Government, including the County Executive and the County Council, on the needs, interests and issues of older adult residents and to advocate on their behalf at the local, State and national levels.
For more information and to download the fact sheet, visit the Commission on Aging’s website under documents, reports and other important information.