Treating the Loneliness Epidemic

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Even before social distancing measures brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, loneliness from not having meaningful social relationships and independent living were felt by individuals worldwide, young and old.

According to a report in 2017, nearly one out of three older Americans live alone, and experts say that the lack of connection can have life-threatening consequences. Another survey in 2013 found that more than half of the population living in London felt lonely, earning the city the title of the most lonely place in the UK.

What can we do to address this invisible epidemic?

Anti-social media

As more people participate in social media networks and spend time online, we might neglect our social responsibilities in the physical world. Digital communities are a great way to connect with people we otherwise would have never interacted with. Still, virtual chats cannot substitute for the physical presence we need for vitality. By filtering what we see online and observing time discipline, we can minimize the effects of loneliness by meeting people in person rather than hitting the video call button if we are capable of doing so.

Adult daycare centers

In the US, adult daycare centers are focused on specific chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. However, other care services are available for adults with disabilities and the elderly. Non-residential facilities are an excellent way to support adults’ daily health, nutritional, and social needs in a professionally staffed, group setting.


Friendships reduce the risk of mortality and the development of certain diseases. Studies have also shown how friendly interactions can increase recovery speed in those suffering from ill-health. Moreover, some volunteers acknowledge that “togetherness” can combat the epidemic of loneliness, especially among seniors. They organize weekly phone calls, home visits, and community activities to keep good relationships between residents and family members.

The main drawback of single-person households is that participating in community activities needs to be pre-planned, requiring more time and effort. With co-living, residents can benefit from the privacy in their own space when they need it and take advantage of communal facilities without necessarily owning expensive appliances to do the daily chores. Furthermore, a community manager is responsible for organizing events and activities to promote togetherness.

City Living or Leaving the City?

To combat loneliness, different people will have other priorities. Historically, we have permanently moved towards cities or from cities, depending on which life stage we’re at. Whether we find togetherness by living in the city or feel that we have to leave the city in order to feel a sense of belonging, it’s up to us to find the best solution to our challenges. More importantly, we should welcome other people who are willing to help us in our journey so we can survive yet another epidemic.


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