Loneliness and The Elderly

Loneliness – the unpleasant feeling of emptiness or desolation – can creep in and cause suffering to people at any age. But it can be especially debilitating to older adults and may predict serious health problems and even death, according to a new study by UCSF researchers.

One of the more surprising findings of the team’s analysis is that loneliness does not necessarily correlate with living alone. The study found 43 percent of surveyed older adults felt lonely, yet only 18 percent lived alone.

Researchers at UCSF focused on death and a decrease in the ability to perform daily activities such as upper extremity tasks, climbing stairs, and walking.

Perissinotto and her colleagues believe the impact of loneliness on an elderly patient is different from the effects of depression. While depression is linked with a lack enjoyment, energy and motivation, loneliness can be felt in people who are fully functional but feel empty or desolate.

The “baby boomer” generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – represents the largest population growth in U.S. history. Some of them now are part of the 39.6 million population of people older than 65. That number is expected to more than double to 88.5 million by 2050. For more information go to http://www.medcompare.com/news.asp?newsid=428107

If you or your loved one is seeking companionship to combat loneliness, here at Kitsap Peninsula Home Instead.  We have highly trained CAREGivers that can do a range of non-medical duties.  Visit our website or call our office at 360-782-4663 or 253-514-9201.

Your Home Instead Senior Care Staff

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