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18-Dec-2017 08:56

As the baby boomer generation crosses the over-65 threshold, it grows; but many of our aging loved ones are still feeling alone in the crowd. As people get older, their likelihood of living alone only increases.

Additionally, more and more older adults do not have children, reports the AARP, and that means fewer family members to provide company and care as those adults become seniors.

The positive angle of these findings, says the report, is that using long-term health care services can in itself connect seniors with much-needed support.

Particularly for seniors in rural areas, entering a care facility may provide companionship and social contact.

Many studies show a connection between social isolation and higher rates of elder abuse, reports the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Whether this is because isolated adults are more likely to fall victim to abuse, or a result of abusers attempting to isolate the elders from others to minimize risk of discovery, researchers aren’t certain.

LGBT seniors are twice as likely to live alone, according to SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders); they are more likely to be single and they are less likely to have children — and they are more likely to be estranged from their biological families.

Stigma and discrimination are major roadblocks to support for LGBT seniors, but there are more and more community groups and online resources devoted to helping these elders avoid isolation.

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Social contacts tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons, including retirement, the death of friends and family, or lack of mobility.“This isolation can prevent them from receiving benefits and services that can improve their economic security and their ability to live healthy, independent lives.” Referring isolated older adults to senior centers, activity programs and transportation services can go a long way toward creating valuable connections and reducing isolation.