Quarter of Adults Aged 65+ Considered Socially Isolated

Loneliness and social isolation in older adults are affecting many people and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions. Quality care at home or in long-term health care facilities can help combat the problem and improve quality of life.

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Quarter of Adults Aged 65+ Considered Socially Isolated
2 Min Read July 12th, 2022

Loneliness and isolation can be regarded as an epidemic as 25% of adults aged 65 and older are socially isolated, and more than 30% of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely.

As people get older, this isolation and loneliness can increase the risk of major diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, substance abuse and Alzheimer's, and other forms of dementia.

Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., is a renowned geriatric neuropsychiatrist and Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California San Diego. Speaking on a webinar moderated by Patricia Will, Founder, and CEO of Belmont Village Senior Living, said that older adults are at increased risk for loneliness and social isolation.

Seniors are more likely to face difficulties living alone. Losing family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss can also contribute to loneliness and isolation.

Social isolation is an enemy of wisdom and resilience. The good news is that loneliness and isolation can be managed and even prevented in older people.

Dr. Dilip Jeste

Lots of Lonely People

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine notes an AARP Foundation study that found that 35% of adults aged 45 and older are lonely. A Kaiser Family Foundation study found that 22% of adults in the United States say they "often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out, or feel isolated from others."

Older adults who are lonely and isolated face increased physical and mental health challenges. Many long-term health care facilities have taken action to keep residents engaged and promote social interaction.

People generally are social by nature, and high-quality social relationships can help them live longer healthier lives. Families, caregivers, and long-term health care facilities should work to improve social interaction and improve the quality of life for older adults.

Results of research analysis published by the National Institutes of Health show that the risk of developing dementia as a result of prolonged loneliness and social isolation is about 49 to 60% higher than in those who are not lonely and socially isolated. Recent research indicates that people encountering loneliness, who were otherwise at lower risk of dementia due to genetic risk factors and age, had a threefold higher risk of developing dementia.

Quality Care Equals Better Quality of Life

Quality long-term health care means a better quality of life. Better long-term care facilities and home care providers understand the need to engage care recipients. However, many families forgo quality care services because they are unable or unwilling to pay for the proper care.

Long-term health care services are costly, and those costs are rising sharply due to inflation, greater demand for care, and higher labor costs. Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for most long-term care services. Medicaid will only pay for long-term care if the care recipient has little or no income and assets.

LTC Insurance Provides Access and Choice

Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for the care individuals need in the setting they desire. However, many people either choose not to buy a policy or are unaware that it was available. Once the need for care arises, the ability to purchase a policy is no longer an option.

It often leaves family members as caregivers who do their best but are untrained, unprepared, and often not as attentive as they would like to be in caring for a loved one.

Most experts suggest better outcomes for families who purchased LTC Insurance and used the benefits for quality care options. Either way, families, and professionals must keep older adults engaged in improving their health and well-being.

Long-Term Care Insurance is usually purchased when someone is in their 50s as part of their retirement plan.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

Long-term health care is a significant financial problem since the costs of care services are rising sharply nationwide. Few of us can afford an additional bill of $4000 a month or more today - much less the $8000 or more monthly in the decades ahead.

The solution many people have found is affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. Before saying it is too expensive, think again and get the facts. LTC Insurance is custom-designed, and premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. 

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s. Getting LTC Insurance younger saves you a lot of money, and you have many more choices. This LTC NEWS resource will show you the cost of top plans based on age - How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cost? | LTC News.

Long-Term Care Insurance means access to quality care. It also means choice. You get to choose the type of care, including care in your home. LTC Insurance also means income and asset protection. Care costs are exploding nationwide - your guaranteed tax-free benefits will ease the financial stress.

LTC Insurance also means your loved ones will have the time to be family instead of being your caregiver. But don't delay. LTC Insurance is medically underwritten, so your health today impacts your premium and your ability to get coverage. Your good health today is a reason to act and not delay. 

Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?

You might have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News. Find all the resources available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Find the cost of care where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Get Expert Guidance 

Long-term care is very specialized, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies, as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

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Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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