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Learn how states are combatting social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic

December 18, 2020

Forty percent of adults with a debilitating disability or chronic condition report feelings of loneliness or being socially isolated. The significant risk factors for social isolation include living alone, mobility disabilities, major life transitions, and emerging health problems – all which become more prevalent in older age. The health risks associated with social isolation and loneliness are troubling, and include higher mortality rates, increased blood pressure, progression of Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, pain, fatique, failing immune systems, and decreased restorative sleep.

In fact, the health risks of social isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and seniors who report feeling lonely or socially isolated have a 45 percent greater risk of mortality.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated these concerns–particularly for adults with disability. Social distancing guideliness have increased social isolation and loneliness for many adults with disabilities, as their caregivers and family members have been unable to visit. And social isolation and loneliness have intensified negative health outcomes due to closures of elective services and a shift to telemedicine–especially for adults whose diabilities prevent them from accessing online resources.

Explore the many ways states are fighting back against social isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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