Did you know that half of older New Zealanders experience some degree of loneliness? The recent COVID-19 lockdown has created a greater awareness of social isolation and loneliness and its harmful physical and mental impacts.
In contrast, feeling isolated can often have a negative impact on our wellbeing and health. Lack of social connections is believed to be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Being socially isolated means being separated from your family and social groups. You can become socially isolated if you live alone, don’t have access to transport, or have poor health. If you are socially isolated you are more likely to be lonely.
You can feel lonely when:
Studies show that staying socially connected can have benefits for both our physical and mental wellbeing.
So how do we stay socially connected?
If you think that someone you know is isolated or lonely, you can help by:
We all have different levels of need for social contact. Some people with limited contact with friends and family may not feel lonely, but it’s okay to ask for help if you’re feeling lonely.
For more information about staying socially connected visit superseniors.msd.govt.nz