Lonely, Homebound Senior Could Be Just a Stereotype

Think most seniors are lonely? Think again.

A whopping 76% of American seniors never or rarely feel lonely or isolated, according to a poll commissioned by Caring.com, a senior care resource for family caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging loved ones. In fact, only 6% say they have feelings of loneliness or isolation on a frequent basis.

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Meanwhile, 16% of seniors feel lonely sometimes, the poll found.

“You always hear that seniors are lonely, and the common belief is that loneliness is one of the big issues around senior citizens,” Andy Cohen, CEO of Caring.com, told Home Health Care News.

Cohen was “shocked to learn” otherwise.

The findings of the poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI), could assuage the concerns of those who care for seniors outside of the senior housing setting.

“It will be welcome news to family caregivers, as there are other things they may want to worry about more,” Cohen said.

Seniors who live in close proximity to others aren’t necessarily better off, the poll revealed. Seniors living in urban areas are approximately twice as likely to feel lonely frequently, compared with those living in rural and suburban areas.

“Seniors are just not lonely,” Cohen said. “I think it’s just sort of a stereotype.”

PSRAI conducted interviews by phone with 628 adults age 65 or older living in the continental United States. The interviews were conducted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 10, and between Jan. 21 and Jan. 24.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson