Isolation: The Enemy of Positive Aging

McKenzie Millis, Healthcare Marketing Specialist

As we age, it is important to stay active and engaged both physically and emotionally. Seniors often face a number of life-changing transitions starting with retirement, downsizing, moves, health and lifestyle changes. Even the loss of a spouse, family member, or a close friend can lead to isolation if we are not careful. According to the National Institute on Aging:

  • Life expectancy nearly doubled during the 20th century, with a ten-fold increase in the number of Americans age 65 or older.
  • Today, there are approximately 35 million Americans age 65 or older, and this number is expected to double in the next 25 years.
  • The oldest old— people age 85 or older—constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

So what is positive aging? Positive aging is a strategy to maximize the quality of life and well-being of seniors through maintaining emotional health and enjoying a healthy lifestyle while staying connected with others.
Be aware of the warning signs of isolation:

  • Do you find yourself alone most of the time?
  • Can you not remember the last time you had a meal with others?
  •  Do you feel lonely or depressed?
  •  Do you feel empty or lack a sense of purpose?

To stay connected and engaged, try these tips:

  • Get involved by volunteering
  • Attend church or synagogue
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Travel
  • Exercise regularly
  • Enjoy meals with others
  • Stay in touch with your doctor
  • Focus on your diet and enjoy nutritious meals
  • Participate in intergenerational activities

It is never too late in life to take up a new hobby or try something new for the first time. Identify which Dimensions of Wellness—Social, Emotional, Physical, Intellectual, Spiritual, and Environmental—interest you most or pose the greatest potential for personal growth. Explore the endless possibilities! There is nothing better than your healthiest and happiest self!