According to the U.S. Census Bureau 11 million, or 28% of people aged 65 and older, lived alone in 2010. As people get older, their likelihood of living alone only increases.
Even the most introverted of us have social and emotional needs. Quite alarming, loneliness has been scientifically linked not only to making us sick, it is killing us. Loneliness is a serious health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. The increased mortality risk is comparable to that from smoking.
Group exercise programs are a wonderfully effective way to reduce isolation and boost physical and mental health. There are many programs available at senior centers that offer aerobic or lower-impact, like stretching.
Studies also suggest that staying socially active by joining book clubs or church groups may add years to a person’s life after retirement.
Of course, one should never rule out the possibility of moving in to a more supportive place where there are daily activities and a sense of community.