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Social Isolation Increases Risk of Medical Problems

A new study by the AARP Public Policy Institute, Stanford University, and Harvard University reveals that socially isolated adults are more likely to get sicker and die sooner, and have higher health care expenses. Overall, the researchers estimate that Medicare spends $6.7 billion per year on seniors who are socially isolated. This amounts to Medicare spending $1,600 more each year on socially isolated individuals, as opposed to those individuals with support from family and friends.

Through this study, which focused solely on adults aged 65 and older living in the community, researchers found that about 14% of the study participants were socially isolated; social isolation is defined as having little contact with adult children, relatives, or friends. Socially isolated individuals tend to be male and white. They tend to live in urban communities, have lower incomes, and fewer assets. Socially isolated older adults were more likely to be depressed, have difficulty with completing daily tasks and activities, and have at least five chronic medical conditions. These individuals were one-third more likely to require skilled nursing care in a facility, since they couldn’t always be discharged to home safely. Hospitalized individuals also had longer and costlier stays, since they often could not be safely discharged to home as quickly.

As this post illustrates, social isolation can lead to a heightened risk of medical conditions that may necessitate some type of long-term care. No matter how an older individual ends up in long-term care, he or she has the right to safe and proper care. The nursing home abuse lawyers of Boller & Vaughan pride themselves on advocating on behalf of clients who suffer injuries at the hands of their caregivers, no matter whether those injuries from result from abuse or neglect in a nursing home or in any type of long-term care facility. We can seek compensation for you through the legal system, while you and your family can concentrate on healing, recovering from any trauma that you might have experienced, and moving on with your life. Don’t hesitate to call our office today and learn how we can help.