SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A new study shows that there are more than 50 million seniors living in the United States today. And, many seniors are living by themselves rather than with their families or at an assisted living facility.
Although independence can be a good thing, some senior groups say it can also bring isolation which can decrease a person's lifespan.
Data from America's Health Rankings Senior Report says in the last two years, there has been a 19-percent increase in excessive drinking among seniors. The report also states that there's been a 19-percent increase in depression among seniors within the last year.
Patti Lyons, the Executive Director for Senior Citizens Inc., says she’s not surprised by the results. She says when people become isolated, they become unhappy. And, when people become unhappy, they’ll look for other ways to help boost their mood, like reaching for that glass of wine.
Lyons says isolated seniors are more than likely to have more health issues and shorter lifespans. If you’re noticing a senior becoming isolated, you may want to step in and try to get them connected with a senior group or program.
Senior Citizens Inc. says their mission is to keep seniors living a happy and healthy life, and they offer a variety of different services to help their mission. Services like their friendly visitor and caller program. This service allows volunteers to visit a senior’s home or call them to talk for a few minutes. The volunteer checks up on the senior, chats with them, and the executive director says this can really help boost a senior's mood.
The Meals on Wheels allows a volunteer to drop off a meal and spend a few minutes checking up on the senior.
In addition to Savannah, Senior Citizens Inc. has three senior community centers located in Port Wentworth, Thunderbolt, and Hinesville, which also offer lunch and activities. At their Bull Street location, they have a learning center where seniors can attend several different classes.
Right now, around 600 seniors take classes at the Learning Center.
To learn more about Senior Citizens Inc., click here.