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Editor's e-Note
All the practices that help keep individuals safe from the coronavirus put them at risk for isolation, especially older adults. According to the National Poll on Healthy Aging, which surveyed more than 2,000 individuals, the number of individuals older than 50 who sometimes or often feel isolated has more than doubled, based on responses to a similar poll taken in 2018.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
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Safe But Lonely

Staying close to home and avoiding crowded places can help older adults reduce their risk of COVID-19. But a new national poll suggests it comes with a cost, especially for those with health challenges.

In June of this year, 56% of people older than 50 said they sometimes or often felt isolated from others—more than double the 27% who felt that way in a similar poll in 2018. Nearly one-half of those polled in June of this year also said they felt more isolated than they had just before the pandemic arrived in the United States, and one-third said they felt they had less companionship than before.

The new findings come from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, which is done for the University of Michigan (U-M) Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine, U-M’s academic medical center. Both the 2020 and 2018 polls on loneliness involved a national sample of more than 2,000 adults aged 50 to 80.

“As the pandemic continues, it will be critical to pay attention to how well we as a society support the social and emotional needs of older adults,” says John Piette, PhD, a professor at the U-M School of Public Health who worked with the poll team. “The intersection of loneliness and health still needs much study, but even as we gather new evidence, all of us can take time to reach out to older neighbors, friends, and relatives in safe ways as they try to avoid the coronavirus.”

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