In 2017, Statistics Canada reported that 1 in 5 older adults are lonely, felt they lack company, felt abandoned or isolated.
By taking this short, interactive lesson, you will learn the answers to the following questions:
Meet Zara, discover her risk factors, and learn what changes they made to reduce their risk of social isolation.
(Estimated time to complete - 20 minutes)Start Lesson
For older adults, social isolation can result from a significant event, such as the loss of a loved one or retirement, or a combination of several smaller events. In general, the more risk factors a person has, the greater likelihood that they’ll experience social isolation. However, the presence of risk factors doesn’t necessarily mean a person will experience social isolation. Whether a person experiences it or not, or to what degree it’s experienced, depends on their coping skills and the support available from family, friends, and the community.
The risk factors for social isolation are many and varied. They include:
There are also specific groups of older adults who are at greater risk of social isolation, including:
Fortunately, there are many proactive steps that you can take to reduce the risk of social isolation, including:
Learn more by taking our 20-minute, interactive lesson.
Neuropsychiatrist, Professor; Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Geriatrician, Assistant Professor; Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
The content of this resource was adapted from various McMaster Optimal Aging Portal Blog Posts on social isolation and the 2016 Government of Canada report Social isolation of seniors - Volume 1: Understanding the issue and finding solutions. A literature search was performed to assess for new research evidence on the subject. The content of the e-learning lesson was reviewed for accuracy by our experts in geriatrics and the following researchers from the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA): Nicole Dalmer, Meridith Griffin, Stephanie Hatzifilalithis, and Victor Kuperman. A panel of selected members of our target audience reviewed the lesson and provided feedback on the content and their experience. This resource was first published on August 24, 2021.
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