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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Loneliness Can Be Deadly

© Imelda Maurer, cdp   January 4, 2017

The title above is taken from today's post of "The New Old Age" in the New York Times.  Tragically, the word 'deadly' is not merely a figurative description of loneliness among elders. Research shows several negative outcomes - cognitive, emotional, and physical -- among older adults who are isolated and older adults who report feelings of loneliness.

In fact, self-reports of loneliness are a prediction of moving into a nursing home because, researchers theorize that loneliness is a precipitant to poor physical and mental health. That is, loneliness is followed by a rapid decline in physical and mental health.

Relationships are at the heart of life.  Life. Period. Not just youth or young adulthood, but LIFE.  Is is possible that in our well-intentioned work to provide "good care" to those elders under our charge, we focus on the physical, and are not mindful of the interpersonal, relational needs all of us share?

How does the environment, "activities" and "the schedule" (!) enable and encourage relationships and friendships among residents and between residents and persons who were a part of their lives before they came to live with us?

The article in the New York Times is well worth reading and  includes several useful related links.  You can read it here .

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