Nearly ninety percent of senior citizens across the U.S. prefer to age in place and grow old at home. Professionals believe that’s the place where people can afford to live over other costly places like nursing homes. But even staying home raises concerns, like the ones that block healthy aging. The most significant is the lack of transportation, affordable housing, and isolation.
When adults have little access to shopping and social activity, isolation becomes a high-risk factor that plays havoc on their health. Here’s what a few seniors from my Facebook group say about aging at home with little support and connection the comments illustrate the challenges.
“Budget, transportation, and health are the main causes of my isolation. I had to give up driving because of severe glaucoma. Also, having a rare autoimmune disease makes me exhausted most of the time.”
“Loneliness and isolation are a real problem. Our culture is different from most Asian and Latin cultures where no older person has to worry about being alone.”
What’s troubling when studying the U.S. Census, is the high number of older residents living alone. Across America, close to 30 percent of the 65 and over, live at home without support, totaling over 11 million, and of these, 71% are female.
That’s a lot of older adults at risk for isolation, a factor of chronic illness. Research examining loneliness says the effects negatively relate to physical activity, and mental, and motor function. Strong social connections are central to physical and mental well-being. But it’s a complex issue. When vulnerable older adults have setbacks, they become disconnected and isolated.
- Contact the local Area Agency on Aging, you can find them using keyword terms, like “area agency on aging your city.” They offer services and resources of the Area Agency on Aging, Elder Abuse Prevention, Information and Assistance, Legal Services, and Long-term Care Ombudsman. If you want a social connection, call your city Parks and Recreation department.
- ADA (American Disabilities Act) Paratransit provides transportation for those who cannot use the fixed-route public transit system. Each state has it. If you qualify, they will give door-to-door service in a small bus.
- Law schools offer free legal assistance to low-income seniors. Or contact your local Area on Aging Department, they can refer you to an elder law attorney.
- Benefits Check Up: Quickly find benefit programs that could help you pay for medications, health care, food, and more. All from a reliable and trusted source.
- Senior Care – has created over 8000 local senior guides that offer healthcare quality ratings, senior housing options, and other resources for aging Americans.
- Carol Marak at Senior News.