Associations Harness Digital Tools to Help the Isolated
Overcoming the nation's loneliness epidemic
Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, loneliness was epidemic in this country.
More than three in five Americans said they were lonely in a survey released in January, long before today’s social distancing measures were adopted in response to the coronavirus. The psychological and physiological effects of loneliness and social isolation can be significant—as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.
For the elderly, the risks are especially acute: Older people are more likely to live alone in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world, the Pew Research Center said this month. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says older adults are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection, and health officials in several states have recommended that the elderly stay home as the crisis continues.
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