More older Americans are living alone, but a staggering number of our elderly parents and community seniors are experiencing social isolation and dementia symptoms.

Research studies have shown both loneliness, and infrequent contact with friends and family, can shorten a person’s life.

According to AARP, nearly 90% of people over age 65 want to stay at home for as long as possible. Living at home and staying in a familiar community may offer benefits to seniors’ emotional well-being — but research indicates that a staggering number of seniors who should be receiving some kind of assistance at home do not initiate such help. And, in many cases, elderly seniors remain living at home, alone.

For a senior to re-locate is a major ordeal. The Administration on Aging reports that about 29%, or 11.3 million older adults lived alone in 2010. At the same time, it’s estimated that over 12% of seniors 65 and older — more than 5 million — need assistance with long-term care to perform activities of daily life.

Many seniors who are low-income or live in poverty are even less likely to re-locate, even if they require more care. The numbers for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia are startling: of the 60-70% of seniors with dementia living in the community, 25% live alone, reports the Alzheimer’s Association.

Social isolation and loneliness are significant issues for our elderly parents. Either, or both situations can negatively impact a senior’s health and well-being.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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