#32: Loneliness versus Isolation

Season #3

Loneliness and isolation are common in late life and two terms used interchangeably, yet there are not the same. Sometimes loneliness and isolation are normalised as part of ageing, and more recently with the pandemic and restrictions associated with COVID-19, isolation is attributed to minimising the risk of infection and spread of the virus.  So, how do we define them?

Broadly, the difference between the two terms sits in subjectiveness versus objectiveness. What do we mean but that? 

Loneliness is subjective and can be social and emotional. It is about how the person perceives their relationships with others and if their emotional needs are met. What type of relationship does the person have with their children, neighbours and friends? 

Isolation on the other hand is objective. The relationships with others may be there but the individual may not be reaching out and connecting with others. Perhaps the family lives in another town, state or overseas, perhaps they have friends but can no longer visit them since they stopped driving or the older person has moved into a new environment and can no longer organise social activities independently. 

In this episode you will learn:

- How we define isolation, particularly during a pandemic

- How we define loneliness and why it is a feature in late life

- Strategies to boost engagement for older adults

- The impact of COVID-19 on engagement and wellbeing in late life


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