Humans are social beings and being connected with others is essential. Older adults have navigated changes in relationships, roles, social customs, and communication technologies throughout their entire life. Most older adults are embedded in a network of family, friends, neighbours, and community. But, for some, the story can be different.
It is estimated that 20% of older adults 65+ are socially isolated in Canada; and 8% can be considered very to extremely isolated (Newall & Menec, 2019)
People may become socially isolated for various reasons. For older adults, declines in health and mobility, loss of a spouse, or losing a driver’s license are examples of major changes that can prevent people from being as socially active as they would like. With the COVID-19 pandemic, and the public health mandates to physically distance, social isolation has become more common.
Social isolation refers to having little
to no contacts with family, friends, or neighbours and participating in few social activities.
Being socially isolated at any
age can negatively affect people’s physical health, mental health, and well-being.
WHY TARGETING ISOLATION?
Social isolation impacts people’s health and well-being. Societies miss out on the important contributions that older adults make. There are community programs and services that can help empower and support older adults to become more socially engaged.
Targeting Isolation provides information, resources, and training opportunities on what social isolation is, how it can impact health and well-being, and ways of connecting to community resources.
Helping people identify and better understand social isolation
Training Community Connectors to connect socially isolated older individuals to community resources
Working with organizations that help reduce older people’s social isolation
Targeting Isolation is led by researchers from the University of Manitoba and Brandon University and is part of the Aging Well Together Coalition funded by the Federal Government of Canada’s New Horizon Program.