Caremore Togetherness Program – Fight Loneliness

“What will future generations condemn us for?” In addition to our prison system, industrial meat production, and our treatment of the environment, Appiah listed America’s treatment of “the institutionalized and isolated elderly.”  The most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness.”

CareMore Health, introduced its Togetherness Program, a comprehensive initiative aimed at identifying and intervening in the loneliness among its senior patients;   catalyst.nejm.org/senior-loneliness  

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The United Kingdom appointed a Minister for Loneliness to address the finding that nine million British people often or always feel lonely.

Social connection significantly affects health. When you believe that you have people in your life who care about you, and you interact with them regularly, you are better off. For instance, you may be less likely to catch a cold, have a stroke or heart disease, slip into early cognitive decline and developdepression. You may even be more likely to overcome socioeconomic disadvantages, recover quickly from illness and live longer.

Among Caremore’s  efforts, they screen for loneliness during appointments, have regular phone conversations and home visits with at-risk senior patients to show they care, and provide informal social hubs at their clinics to foster connection. scientificamerican.com/to-combat-loneliness-promote-social-health    

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The seclusion that comes with aging in America is more than just unfortunate; it’s a health problem that CareMore CEO Sachin H. Jain, MD, MBA, FACP, says affects 43% of seniors over age 65. A study in 2016 showed a direct connection between the size of one’s social network and health, and CareMore cites research that compares extreme isolation to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Connect seniors with local resources, including CareMore gyms at existing facilities. In some cases, home visits are needed.  ajmc.com/loneliness-removes-barriers-to-togetherness

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loneliness is a common emotional distress syndrome with a high risk factor for early mortality and a broad variety of physical health and psychiatric issues, it still gets little attention in medical training or in health care more generally,”  Business Wire.com

 

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thedowneypatriot.com/loneliness-damages-the-health-of-our-seniors-it-can-should-be-treated

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commonwealthfund.org/caremore-improving-outcomes-and-controlling-health-care-spending

 

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“Some experts think that when you feel isolated you’re more likely to feel unsafe and perceive that the world is more threatening in some way, which leads to stress and anxiety and low self-esteem, and those can create health issues. Others believe that those who are socially isolated from others are having a harder time taking care of themselves regulating themselves. They’re not guided by social norms or cues and may engage in more unhealthy behaviors like eating poorly, substance abuse, smoking, and then others may argue that loneliness is tied to other physical issues like sleep disturbance or increased cortisol, which creates and exacerbates health issues.”

Often, she adds, they face financial problems.

“Forty percent of high-need isolated adults have incomes below $15,000 a year, and 80 percent of those people say they worry about having enough money to pay bills or afford healthy food — a rate more than double that of the total sample of adults. And even more concerning is that because of this financial hardship they’re more likely, three times more likely than other adults, to skip doses or not fill their medications.”   commonwealthfund.org/addressing-epidemic-loneliness

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