The recently released study “Social Isolation, Loneliness, And All-Cause Mortality In Older Men And Women” concluded that the condition of being socially isolated is a cause of premature death. The media picked this up in various forms: “Social Isolation Can kill Seniors” (UPI.com), “Study Ties Social Isolation to Increased Risk of Death” (Voice of America News) “Maybe Isolation, Not Loneliness, Shortens Life” (NPR) to cite a few of the headlines.
Both social isolation and loneliness are known to increase the risk of premature death. What the researchers wanted to figure out was whether the effects of social isolation and loneliness were independent of each other or linked. They concluded that social isolation is independent of loneliness. It is likely that there will be many more studies on this whole issue as it is being recognized as a significant issue for so many people in our society. In fact, the AARP has created an entire program devoted to addressing the problem of isolation in older people.
I wish someone would do a major study the effects of having a homemate—a person with whom they share a home by mutual agreement. A person who is not a spouse or family member. I’ve heard of many people who share housing and love it. I believe having a homemate is a fabulous option for the millions of people who live alone and are at risk for both social isolation and loneliness. If we had the research so that it would make the news—maybe having a homemate would become mainstream.
Postings in this category are specifically about seniors and the options for seniors in sharing housing.