The Dangers of Isolation for Seniors

As human beings, we are created to be social. We benefit and thrive when we are interacting with others through various social relationships and networks. These social networks are our families, friends, colleagues, co-workers, etc. Most of us grow to rely on these relationships and networks. They become a large part of our identity and how we enjoy our lives.

As we age, our social networks naturally become smaller due to a variety of reasons. This decrease causes isolation and a resulting feeling of loneliness. This can produce numerous negative effects on an elderly person’s health.  

Here are just a few recent findings by researchers on some of the negative effects caused by isolation:

  • A study conducted by AARP found that 1 out of every 3 adults living in the US indicated that they are lonely.[1]

  • Research has also shown that isolation can have the same negative effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.[2]

  • Social isolation in the elderly increases the likelihood of more frequent visits to an emergency room as well as longer hospital stays.[3]

  • Some of the numerous health implications associated with isolation are cognitive decline and mental health conditions such as depression and dementia.[4]

Fortunately, today’s Independent and Assisted living communities offer wonderful options that can offset and remedy the declining social atmosphere of aging individuals. Maine hosts numerous communities that provide this along with many other benefits for seniors.

While aging at home can be the best option for many people, some do choose to move to an independent or an assisted living community, in part for the social benefits they provide.

Over the past year we have enjoyed helping many seniors transition to living communities with outstanding results. We have seen individuals who were once sullen and depressed become stimulated, outgoing and thriving again in their new social environment. Living in a community of one’s peers can help promote a healthy, happy and fulfilled life for you or your loved one.

Jenna Elerick and Jennifer Given – Directors, Coastal Transitions of Maine


[1] AARP


[2] Holt,Lunstad, 2015

[3] Geller et al, 1999

[4] Holwerda, et al, 2012