Beaverton Committee on Aging: Loneliness

By Suzanne VanSlykecity-of-beaverton-logo

There are many types of changes our aging population experience; some have been expected, some have not. Memory lapses, diminished strength, and balance concerns continue to be the most expected changes. Recent studies show that many older adults are experiencing an equally concerning change, one that creeps up on you – it’s the feeling of loneliness and isolation and if not addressed, can be perilous.

The lack of mobility, inaccessible and unaffordable transportation, hearing loss, and other challenges can put someone at risk of isolation. We need human contact and we need to feel connected. Without it, other problems like depression, anxiety and addictions can occur.  Chronic loneliness has been linked with high blood pressure, sleep difficulties, cognitive decline and a compromised immune system.

What are some of the steps we can take to ward off the feelings of loneliness and be healthy well into our golden years?

Make plans, make connections and build your community. You have choices to make. Work to build your “community” of friends by joining a book club, church groups, walking clubs, volunteer organizations, or sign up to learn a new hobby or skill with others. If you are interested in volunteering, check out VolunteerMatch.org where you can view and sign up for opportunities by age, ability and type of work.

Don’t delay, start today!

Visit the Elsie Stuhr Center for lunch, a movie, a class or an upcoming program. Learning how to use the internet will bring about unlimited possibilities.

Contact the Stuhr Center at (503) 629-6342 or stop in at 5550 SW Hall Blvd in Beaverton.

If you need help with home or community-based supports, the Washington County Dept. of Aging, 4805 SW Griffith Dr., Beaverton or call 503-629-6342. 

For information about the Beaverton Committee on Aging, contact jbrooks@beavertonoregon.gov.