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How to Fight Loneliness

Most people have experienced loneliness at some point in their lives. Loneliness can be the result of isolation, but it can also be caused by not having the type or quality of relationships a person is looking for.

It’s a widespread issue in modern society, and it can be even more of an issue for those who are mostly homebound due to illness, age, or other issues.

Many seniors feel lonely as retirement, debilitating illnesses and conditions, and the aging of their friend circle reduce opportunities for regularly engaging with others.

Whatever the age, surveys show that loneliness is increasing in society.

Recent Statistics on Loneliness

Both pre- and post-pandemic surveys show how widespread loneliness is in the US and worldwide:

  • A 2019 Cigna survey found 61% (or three in five) of Americans reported feeling lonely – up from 54% in 2018. This study found a greater percentage of millennials felt lonely than Baby Boomers. Another surprise was that more men felt lonely than women.
  • A University of Michigan poll in 2019 found that 1 in 3 adults aged 50 to 80 feel they lack companionship and 1 in 4 feel isolated. People living with health problems were more likely to feel lonely, according to this poll, and those living alone were more likely to feel lonely.
  • A 2023 Meta-Gallup survey found that one in four people worldwide feel at least fairly lonely. This survey found that, worldwide, older adults felt lonely less often than their younger counterparts.

The Effects of Loneliness on Health

In 2023, the US Office of the Surgeon General reported that “loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” They also found that there is a 45% increased risk of mortality in seniors who report feeling lonely.

Numerous studies have found a connection between feelings of loneliness and multiple health issues, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Stroke

In the video below, we discuss the problem of loneliness and how it can be addressed.

How to Overcome Loneliness

The good news is that loneliness can be cured one person at a time through building strong connections. The key to combatting loneliness is finding a way to connect that feels comfortable for you. Introverts and extroverts both experience loneliness, but the type of connection and the level of it they need can differ.

Here are a few ideas for building connections and coping with loneliness:

  • Reach out to people you’re already close to. This works both ways; a lonely person can start reaching out to their inner circle more. If you’re close to someone who might be lonely, get in touch with them.
  • Make new connections through hobbies and interests. If you know someone who’s lonely, see if you can help them get involved in clubs and organizations they might be interested in.
  • Figure out how your alone time can be more enjoyable. This requires a fair bit of introspection. What do you really enjoy doing? What activities give you comfort and a sense of well-being? Knowing these things can give you the direction you need to overcome a bout of loneliness.

Companion Care Helps with Loneliness

If you’re concerned about a loved one being lonely or you’re a senior coping with loneliness yourself, the first step is to reach out. People can make friends throughout life, not just in school or at work. A professional caregiver can also become a close friend, especially when there’s a good match based on common interests.

At Homewatch CareGivers, we pair professional, compassionate caregivers with people who share their interests. To learn more about our companion care services and how they play an important part in our Total Care Solutions program, contact us online or call (888) 404-5191.

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