56% of older adults experienced loneliness amid pandemic, new survey shows

More than half of older adults in the U.S. (56 percent) reported feeling isolated from others in a new poll, compared to 27 percent of older adults who reported the same in 2018.

Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan's Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation conducts the National Poll on Healthy Aging, with support from AARP and Michigan Medicine. The 2020 poll surveyed 2,074 older adults, age 50 to 80 , in June. The 2018 survey polled 2,051 older adults, age 50 to 80 , in October 2018.

When asked to compare their feelings in June to before the pandemic, about 48 percent of respondents felt more isolated, 8 percent felt less isolated and 44 percent reported feeling the same isolation level . Forty-six percent of respondents reported infrequent social contact (once a week or less) with family, friends or neighbors from outside the home, compared to 28 percent in 2018.

In addition, feeling a lack of companionship during the first three months of the pandemic was more common among women, people who lived alone and those who were unemployed, disabled or not working.

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