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The Effects of Isolation in Older Adults

The population of older adults in Orange County (65+) is 387,600 individuals, including 37.5% who are at risk for a number of concerns including safety and well-being, medical problems, mental and emotional issues, nutritional issues, and financial viability. Alarmingly, 43.8% of older adults in Orange County (169,767 older adults) have reported not having anyone to help them when they experience difficulties (OCNHA: Orange County Report on Older Adults 2010). In addition to lacking appropriate support system, 34.9% (135,272) of Orange County older adults 65+ live alone (Wellbeing of Older Adults Orange County Community Indicators 2011) . These factors are major contributors to the isolation of our older adult population and are also a source of significant concern because resent studies have reveled that isolated older adults are at a higher risk of failing health and experiencing an early death (2012 UCSF Study).

The Council on Aging’s Friendly Visitor Program addresses the critical needs of lonely and isolated seniors by visiting them in their home providing much-needed companionship, while also identifying unmet needs for information, referral and advocacy. The program is especially beneficial to vulnerable seniors who have no family members or support systems to help them gain access to local community resources and services, which enables them to achieve sustainable and dignified lives.

Read on: "It's Not Just A Lonely Feeling: Isolation has physical, cognitive, and emotional strains too!"