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Am I At Risk?
As we age, our social connections may decrease. Depending on a number of risk factors, our sense of isolation or loneliness can increase. Not only can social isolation lead to feeling lonely, but it can have a negative impact on our overall health and well-being.
Knowing if you are experiencing risk factors may help you identify the need to increase your social connections. Review our Social Isolation and Loneliness Scale and Checklist below.
I feel lonely/isolated all the time
I feel lonely/isolated some of the time
I never feel lonely/isolated
Social Isolation and Loneliness Checklist
Below are some risk factors that can impact older adults. Which situations apply to your life?
Risk Factors and Protective Factors
Risk factors are characteristics that can cause or lead to undesirable outcomes. Generally, the more risk factors an individual faces, the more likely they are to experience undesirable outcomes.
Protective factors are characteristics that can help reduce negative outcomes and support positive outcomes. Generally, the more protective factors an individual has, the less likely they are to experience undesirable outcomes.
Ageing, in itself, does not cause isolation and loneliness.
We know that there are certain risk factors faced by older adults that increases the likelihood of social isolation and loneliness. These risk factors include physical, social, economical, environmental, and health factors, and can limit an older adult’s ability to be socially connected with friends, family, and community.
Isolation and loneliness are not caused by just one or two risk factors.
Although risk factors are unique for each person, individuals facing multiple risk factors are more likely to experience social isolation and loneliness. An older adult facing a few risk factors has a higher chance of experiencing more risk factors. It is important to introduce protective factors as early as possible to help limit the impacts of some risk factors.
Protective factors are characteristics that can reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes or can limit the impact of a risk factor. Examples of protective factors include development of new skills, supports, and access to information and resources.
Risk factors and protective factors can be changeable and unchangeable.
Examples of unchangeable factors can include biological factors like some physical and mental health conditions, race and cultural background, and age.
Changeable factors are situations or stressors that are not permanent. Examples can include self-esteem, retirement, moving to a new home, immigration, losing a loved one, illness, and experiencing abuse.
With a focus on changeable factors, Connection in Action supports older adults by offering protective factors to help increase social connections.
List of Risk Factors and Protective Factors
Below is a list of commonly known risk factors for social isolation and loneliness in older adults. A list of protective factors with some examples can help us understand how to prevent social isolation and loneliness.
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I Am At Risk
If you think you are at risk of social isolation and loneliness, there are a number of supports you can access. Our Connection Specialist can assist you by sharing information and resources and by connecting you with services and programs that can help increase your social connections and sense of community-belonging.