“Social isolation is equivalent to the health effects of smoking 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks daily,” says Univeristy of Adelaide Professor Andrew Beer. Because of this, Beer has begun a research study to find out how to end social isolation of seniors.
Beer is determined to combat the pernicious effects of social isolation and has $348,000 (courtesy of the Australian Research Council) to investigate what programs work, don’t work and why. He plans on studying 900 Australian seniors evaluate social programs for seniors and figure out what models should be embraced and what should be eliminated.
“Up to 20 percent of the Australian aged population is socially isolated and we have a rapidly aging population. If you are socially isolated, it will have a huge impact on your health and place a huge burden on society as a whole and the individual” said Beer.
Beer’s assertion that 20% of seniors in Australia are socially isolated rings true to our ears at Engage As You Age. Our rough estimate is that 20-25% of seniors in the San Francisco Bay Area are socially isolated. Whether they live in a San Francisco assisted living facility or nursing home or choose to age in place, many seniors in San Francisco (and throughout the Bay Area) are isolated because of physical, cognitive and/or emotional reasons. It’s the seniors who are stuck in their rooms (in assisted living facilities or their own homes) or who have dementia or parkinson’s and have a hard time connecting with other seniors. That’s why we’re here–to provide companionship for seniors that are socially isolated.