Specialized Information for:

Nursing HomesAssisted Living/Board & Care Home and Community Based Services
Back to News Listing

The Connecticut Ombudsman Program Works with Researchers to Learn More About Social Isolation

January 03, 2020

Connecticut State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Mairead Painter, right, meets with Ruth Knollmuella, a resident of Elim Park Senior Living Community in Cheshire.

Mairead Painter, Connecticut State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, often sees older adults who feel socially isolated, even if they aren’t living alone. Recently, she spoke with a woman in her 70s, new to a nursing home, who was disconnected and lonely, despite the rich lineup of activities available to her.

Painter and AARP Connecticut are working with researchers at Quinnipiac University to learn more about why people experience isolation and loneliness and how to alleviate these conditions. The initiative fits with AARP Connecticut’s work promoting livable communities, said Erica Michalowski, its community outreach and education director.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 1 in 5 older Americans are socially isolated, which can lead to poorer health and even early death. Older adults struggling with cognitive decline or hearing and eyesight loss may isolate themselves to hide those changes from friends and family, Painter said.

Read the full article.