Lots of people are isolating themselves these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But isolation and loneliness have long been concerns for some seniors as they grapple with the death of loved ones, health problems or retirement.
A recently-released study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine urged the health care system to do more to identify and prevent problems related to senior isolation. UW-Milwaukee applied gerontology professor Colleen Galambos helped write the report. She says medical personnel could perhaps do an assessment or screening.
“That would really go a long way to identify people who are at risk, and then helping them to connect them with interventions and programs that may help them," she says.
Galambos also urges seniors who feel isolated to reach out to social groups. Some are online in this era of COVID-19. Other gatherings such as in exercise centers or religious settings may be easier to assemble once the health concerns ease.
Galambos also urges families to stay connected with seniors through means as basic as a telephone call.
Galambos says the AARP Foundation paid for the National Academies report on senior isolation but had no say-so over the committee's findings.
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