Why our work matters
Depression. it's a real thing
Late-life depression is common among seniors of all income levels and living situations. A Review of Social Isolation reports the prevalence of isolation among community dwelling older adults or seniors living at home may be as high as 43 percent.
New York Times bestselling author of Being Mortal, Atul Gawande accurately describes the country's current healthcare standards--"Our elderly are left with a controlled and supervised institutional existence, a medically designed answer to unfixable problems, a life designed to be safe but empty of anything [residents] care about."
Social isolation is not routinely addressed in the primary care setting and often goes undetected.
health for the whole self
According to the World Health Organization, "health" is defined as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary."
Social isolation has been demonstrated to lead to numerous detrimental health effects in older adults including increased risk for all-cause mortality, dementia, increased risk for re-hospitalization, and increased risk for falls. Additionally, less socially connected men are at a significantly increased risk of death from suicide.
Limited social activity impacts health downstream in three ways: behavioral, psychological, and physiological.
research backs up our cause
Numerous studies published over the decades have proven social roles and activity are effective treatments for successful aging. According to the Mayo Clinic of Aging, mentally stimulating activities may diminish the role of mild cognitive impairment in older adults.
Individuals who have robust social networks are 2.5 times more likely to quit smoking for good. Additionally, an active and socially integrated lifestyle has been found to protect against dementia.
According to the study, Loneliness, Depression, and Sociability in Old Age, persons involved with a positive relationship tend to be less affected by everyday problems and have a greater sense of control and independence.
Something as simple as a friendship can improve an elder's health and outlook on life.
it's time to act
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that one-third of the US population will be 65 or older by 2050. More than half of these men and women will have difficulty performing one or two "activities of daily living" which include bathing, dressing, eating, walking, and using the toilet. The risk for these individuals becoming socially isolated due to chronic illness is high.
My Life, My Stories and its volunteers are dedicated to preventing social isolation and depression among those who are least able to help themselves.
The elderly are often forgotten about, but together we can change that.