Loneliness : Loneliness And Isolation

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1. The concept of loneliness Loneliness and isolation have some commonalities so some people misunderstood their meanings and interchanged the term ‘isolation’ with ‘loneliness’. However, they are not synonymous. Social isolation is an objective state. This term refers to people having infrequent social interaction, living solo and can be measured through how many contacts a person have (Cutler 2012, p.7). It can not sure that social isolation makes people have the feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is likely to be experienced by those who are not socially isolated but isolation can become one of the factors leading to loneliness.

Unlike social isolation, loneliness is a subjective state. There is no worldwide definition of
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Albeit there are diverse concepts, generally loneliness is a state of being alone or solitude as well as a feeling of separation or detachment. In a word, it is stress feeling and may have impacts on the health and well-being of the person undergoing the experience. 2. The reasons why loneliness is serious health problem to elders Feelings of loneliness can arise in any age group; however, loneliness is the biggest problem for elders due to its serious prevalence and impacts. The increase of the elderly population is one of the major contributors. In 2015, one in eight people worldwide was aged 60 or over and by 2030, older persons are predicted to account for one in six people globally (Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2015). With the number of old people is rising, the media also warned that a ‘demographic time bomb’ is about to explore in a few years (Heathcote and Hong 2009, p. 129) so it is emergent to address loneliness among the old people. Another reason is that older people are particularly vulnerable after having to witness the death of friends or spouse, experience the feelings of the loss of family, accepting reduced mobility or having limited income. Moreover, aging is associated with mental health risks. For many, the phenomenon of loneliness in old age has been highlighted as a global public health concern.

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