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[News] Loneliness among seniors is a global threat. This advocate is pushing for a local solution

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Lending a helping hand and looking out for one another, even through the toughest times.

These traits are interwoven in Newfoundland and Labrador's collective fabric, says the province's seniors' advocate, Susan Walsh. 

With one of the most rapidly expanding senior populations in the country, this type of spirit needs to be reinvigorated to help address an issue facing many seniors: loneliness.

But, it goes beyond the individual — serious structural change is also needed, she says.

"We do absolutely need to be leaders in targeting these issues," said Walsh.

Newfoundland and Labrador leads the country on a per capita basis when it comes to the number of people aged 65 years and older, according to Statistics Canada, with nearly half of the province's population aged 50 years and older.

Walsh says that research with the National Institute on Aging released last December found that 58 per cent of older adults have experienced loneliness, but 41 per cent of Canadians 50 plus are at risk of it.

In November, the World Health Organization designated it as a global public health concern.

It's a complex issue, one that hasn't always been front of mind, but that the seniors' advocate's office is researching, says Walsh. 

For instance, something the office has found is that loneliness and isolation don't always go hand in hand. Loneliness is an issue for many people living in care homes, and some research suggests seniors feel less lonely when they live in their own homes, she says.

What the office also found is that poverty is part of the loneliness problem.

See rest of Article here

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  • Date

    Feb 20, 2024

  • By

    CBC News


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