What are the Health Effects of Social Isolation and Loneliness?

Loneliness has such far-reaching consequences that the health impact is comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day! study published in the journal PLOS Medicine

Health Effects

Mental Health Impact
Increased Risk of Depression: Isolation and loneliness can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression, which can be particularly harmful to older individuals who may already be dealing with age-related challenges and losses.

Cognitive Decline: Loneliness has been associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.

Physical Health Consequences
Weakened Immune System: making older individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Cardiovascular Health: linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, including hypertension and heart disease.

Sleep Disturbances: lead to sleep disturbances, which can negatively impact overall health and well-being.

Reduced Quality of Life
Lower Life Satisfaction: decreased sense of life satisfaction and overall well-being.

Lack of Engagement: reduced engagement in meaningful activities, hobbies, and social interactions that contribute to a fulfilling life.

Physical Decline
Reduced Physical Activity: lead to decreased physical activity, which can contribute to physical decline and mobility issues in older adults.

Poor Nutrition: Some elderly individuals may neglect their nutritional needs when they are socially isolated, leading to malnutrition or other health issues.

**INCREASED RISK OF SELF MEDICATION

Increased Mortality Risk
Studies have shown that social isolation and loneliness are associated with a higher risk of mortality among older adults. The lack of social connections and emotional support can contribute to poorer health outcomes.

Delayed Help-Seeking Behavior

Isolated individuals may be less likely to seek medical attention when needed because they lack the social connections and support that could encourage them to address health concerns in a timely manner.
Social isolation and loneliness create high risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. Social isolation significantly increases a clients risk of premature death from all causes. Loneliness rivals health risk factors as much as physical inactivity, smoking, and even obesity.

Here is why:

  1. 50% percent increased risk of dementia. See the following link…
  2. 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke
  3. higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide. The highest rate of suicide in the nation is among persons 65 years of age and older.
  4. Heart Patients: nearly 4 times increased risk of death, 68% increased risk of hospitalization, and 57% increased risk of emergency department visits.


The Immigrant Communities Are At Even A Higher Risk:
Data suggests that immigrant populations experience loneliness more often than other groups. A fascinating look at Latino immigrants, for example, shows fewer social ties and lacking social integration when compared to American born Latinos. Immigrants also experience stressors that can increase their social isolation. Language barriers aside, let’s consider the differences in community and family dynamics coupled with new relationships that lack deepness or nostalgic connection. Keep in mind, our monitoring center provides services in over 100 different languages. This will become increasingly important in order to communicate.

We are entering the Loneliness Heightening Season

Why Seniors Experience Holiday Loneliness
Aging brings experience and wisdom, however, there are inevitable losses that all seniors face. Loved ones and friends move or pass away as energy and mobility levels decrease, resulting in feelings of lost opportunities and independence. Also, neighborhoods change over time, leaving even those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling super lonely while at the same time television and social media constantly reminding them that they are alone during the holidays.

What Can AMA Do to Help?

PERS devices are known as the “Help, I’ve fallen and Can’t get Up!” But did you know, AMA PERS can be more than just an emergency fall button? That’s right, AMA PERS can be used to address feelings of social isolation or loneliness. Our operators are 5 Diamond Certified and we are UL Listed, meaning they are trained and prepared for the highest levels of customer service. Whether your members are depressed, lonely or confused, their AMA PERS device can act as a call line for help when dealing with negative thoughts. Our operators can then call family members or friends to check in with the user and help them through their mental state.

NOW introducing AMA Kindness Calls
We offer Timely Member Check-In to you members at most risk.The AMA Kindness Program was built to help your members for all situations, not just emergencies. Whether your member is alone or just needs to talk to a friend, AMA is here to provide just that. These calls can be monthly, weekly or even daily. THere are no procedural codes or cost for this wonderful service.

Please reach out to your Case Manager Specialist to help you offer this program
The BIG take away from this is; If your member is at risk for social isolation, loneliness or depression, let us know! The more information we have, the better prepared our operators are to navigate any circumstance and to provide complete assistance.

AMA PERS is not just a fall button but a Universal Call Line For Help. Whether a member needs to talk through a bad day or get connected to their FAVORITE GRANDCHILD, Alert Medical Alarms is here to provide just that.

Stay tuned for how the impending caregiver shortage will affect the growing Social Isolation crisis and How AMA Pers just may be what managed care is searching for…

Timely Member Check-In