That's more than 200 million people. And in Connecticut alone, that's 2.1 million people. Those same people lack the opportunity for meaningful social interactions on a regular basis.
Our communities have become segregated by age over the past 50 years, which has resulted in an increase in isolation and loneliness among older adults. And young adults are now feeling more lonely than older adults.
Isolation and loneliness have been identified as key social determinants of health; they negatively impact the health and well-being of people of all ages.
Loneliness and social isolation are associated with a reduced lifespan equal to someone smoking 15 cigarettes/day - and greater than someone with obesity. Loneliness is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, dementia, anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide.
And loneliness and isolation increase the risk of financial exploitation and fraud.
Loneliness and isolation are not tied to socioeconomic status; rather, they impact members of our communities regardless of education, occupation, and income.
Reuniting the generations improves the health and well-being of individuals and increases community cohesion. And it changes perceptions of aging.
Social isolation has negative health impacts comparable to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
Relationships and social interaction are the critical ingredients in well-being, particularly as we age.
Holding a negative attitude toward our own aging is a risk factor for cognitive disorders as we age. And loneliness increases the risk of dementia by 40%.
Positive attitudes about aging and feeling socially engaged reduce the risk of dementia in older adults.
Internalizing the negative stereotype of aging to define oneself results in longevity deficits.
Older adults with positive perceptions of aging live 7.5 years longer.
Several indicators of social isolation and loneliness have been associated with poor health.
Medicare spends about $134 more each month for every lonely senior than for every socially connected older adult. That adds up to an extra $6.7 billion of spending each year in the USA.
Age segregation results in different ages seeing each other as rivals for community assets.
As age barriers disappear and ageism abates, residents unite around shared goals.
Lonely and isolated older adults are more likely to be victims of financial exploitation and fraud.
Socially connected older adults are less likely to be lured in by a fraudster, and have a trusted network to talk about proposals that don't seem legitimate.
We work with local experts and community leaders to identify, customize, and implement impactful, evidence-informed program(s) and/or event(s). In doing so, we welcome and value collaboration with other nonprofits operating locally. We engage members of local schools, youth groups, senior and community centers, and adult living communities both as volunteers and as program participants. And in every community where we work, we encourage our partners to establish a committee to keep the impact going for years to come.
If our mission resonates with you, we'd love to connect.
Please reach out to start a conversation about how we can work together to unite the generations and end loneliness and ageism.