Loneliness and Older Adults

Loneliness and isolation in the senior population are very real issues that everyone can help remedy. While the holidays are fun for many, the season can be difficult for those who are already lonely.

It’s estimated that more than 12 million Americans over the age of 65 live alone, which accounts for 25-30% of the older adult population. While living alone doesn’t automatically make one lonely and likewise feeling lonely doesn’t require you to be living alone, these statistics point to a population that is more likely to deal with this issue than many others.

The National Council on Aging provides some great tips for combatting loneliness during the holiday season and in our everyday lives. The most important tip they provide is making communication a priority. This may seem simple, but the reality is that those who live alone simply don’t have the opportunity to interact with other people on a regular basis. Taking the time to talk to a loved one, friend or neighbor can be one of the greatest gifts you can give to them this holiday season. Even if you can’t see them in person, a phone call or video chat will mean the world to them.

Our Red Carpet Service delivers library materials to those who live in retirement communities, long term care facilities, and those who are homebound. Any of us who do those deliveries will tell you that one of the best parts of the job is seeing and chatting with the people when we make deliveries. Providing books, movies, CDs and other library materials is the main part of the job, but not far behind is being another point of contact for each person we deliver to and having a conversation with them. It’s one of the most joyful parts of our job and it often brings joy to the wonderful people we deliver to as well.

Enjoy the holidays this year and be sure to spend time with the older adults in your life either in person or virtually. It will mean so much to them!

See the National Council on Aging article.

I'm the Red Carpet Librarian and work to bring lifelong support services to the Topeka and Shawnee County area through outreach and programming. I also am a sports enthusiast, work closely with the library's sports collection, and provide programming to engage the community's sports fans.