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Ways to Avoid Loneliness and Isolation

Limited social connections can lead to isolation and loneliness for all of us. However, older people who live alone, have health concerns or experience a loss are especially vulnerable.

Scientists are finding that our interaction with other people - friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, clubs and religious groups - can have powerful effects on our health and well-being. Persistent loneliness and social isolation have been linked to poorer health and increased risk for depression, dementia and early death, just to name a few issues.

Here are some suggestions that may make a difference in preventing isolation:

  • Get physical during the day and stay active. Take a walk, clean out a closet or join a class at a local gym.
  • Consider volunteering because helping others can bring meaning into your days and make you feel part of something larger than yourself.
  • Learn how technology can keep you connected to family and friends via Facebook, texts and emails.Taking small steps to connect with others and keep a positive outlook can make a big difference in warding off loneliness and isolation. NDSU Extension has resources on its Aging Well website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging) to help you. You also can contact your local county Extension office for more information. 

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension gerontology specialist, 701-231-5948

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