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Older Adult Loneliness & Isolation Fact, Fiction, or Epidemic?

View the presentation; Georgia Afton and the Minnesota Gerontological Society’s presentation on Older Adult Loneliness & Isolation; Fact, Fiction, or Epidemic?

View the presentation; Georgia Afton and the Minnesota Gerontological Society's presentation on Older Adult Loneliness & Isolation; Fact, Fiction, or Epidemic?Presentation Overview

In the midst of the busyness of our day-to-day work on behalf of older adults, this presentation offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on an issue that reaches the very heart of our work. It begs the question: Is loneliness and isolation in older adults fact, fiction, or epidemic? Unpacking the answer leads us to consider various states of being associated with “being alone” and how isolation creates a circle of loss. Isolation risk factors, along with societal impacts and the COVID-19 factor, will weave their way into our discussion. We will also look at questions such as: How can we measure isolation and assess the degree to which it is present in the lives of the older adults we work with? What causes isolation, and what solutions can we call on to remedy it? Your voices matter in this conversation, and we expect lively participation and answers to unfold from our shared expertise and experience as we learn from each other.

Presentation Objectives

  • To explore and define loneliness and isolation and their impact on older adult health and well-being.
  • To examine how we can identify loneliness among clients.
  • To incorporate studies and statistics that illustrate the significant role loneliness and isolation play in older adults’ quality of life.
  • To reflect on friendship as an antidote to loneliness and share other ideas and solutions.

BIO

Georgia Afton takes her professional work in older adult services personally. She originally worked for her current employer – Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) – from 1999 to 2003 as the organization’s Development and Communications Director. To this day, she cherishes the memory of several Elder Friends made during those years who added joy, meaning, and wisdom to her life. Those friendships, coupled with navigating her own parents’ later years from overseas, drew her back to LBFE in 2015. She now serves as the organization’s Community Outreach Director. Once again, she is happy to embrace the work of ending loneliness and isolation through the power of friendship for older adults. Georgia’s previous nonprofit work has included communications and development roles with Nonviolent Peaceforce and Clare Housing. She earned a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. from Hamline University.

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