Social isolation, defined as a lack of meaningful contact with others, is a risk factor for poor health and a higher death rate in older adults. As a person ages, they lose some of the social structure that had been around to support them in previous years.
This happens in a few ways, one of them being the death or illness of peers. Another is the collapse of the family unit. Often this isolation leads to depression.
It is important to combat this trend by staying connected with social networks. Joining in on weekly fitness class like tai chi or yoga can help. Or, for those more interested in more brainy pursuits, a book club or poker game.
Another consideration for isolated adults is to seek help when coping with the types of loss associated with aging. Whether it be the loss of loved ones or of mobility, people may need help coping with such events.
These small changes can help older adults feel more happy and engaged, thereby improving their quality of life.