Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us all...and it hit us all hard. From the massive loss of life to the toll on the global economy, this pandemic will have long-term effects on society, some of which have yet to even be discovered. One notable effect is the impact on our mental health.
Loneliness and social isolation are often mistaken as passing emotions that self-correct over time, but this is not always the case. Aging experts found that the impact of chronic loneliness and social isolation can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and deem it a public health epidemic. According to the National Institute on Aging, loneliness and social isolation increase the risk of mental health conditions like depression and cognitive impairment, and physical conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. The impact is even greater in older adults in the United States as nearly half (46%) of the senior population struggles with social isolation.