American Academy Blog

Reduce Social Isolation Among Older Populations

January 13, 2014 at 6:00 pm Comments are off for this post

Social isolation is on par with smoking as a behavioral health risk with comparable consequences to health and well-being. Social isolation has been associated with both an increase in morbidity and mortality. Social isolation is also associated with increased symptoms of psychological distress or loneliness. A recent study has even suggested that people with fewer social ties are more susceptible to the common cold. Social isolation is a malleable condition. Many health professions have become more cognizant of social isolation as an important health issue. Meanwhile social work has yet to adequately attend to social isolation even though it is a problem that would appear to be at the heart and soul of the profession of social work. Perhaps naming social isolation as one of the grand challenges would allow for social work to better focus its attenti on on this important area and form partnerships with nurses, geriatricians and others to help reduce the incidence and prevalence social isolation.