Social Isolation: What does that mean?

Social Isolation: What does that mean?


“I get by with a little help from my friends.”

This simple line from a Beatles song was referenced in a Huffington Post article about social isolation. According to the article, “The Beatles were on to something big: the fact that social isolation is a social determinant of health, so potent yet so under-appreciated that we are still discovering just how important it is to this day.” Society today has become so dependent on being social, it is hard to think that someone could have social isolation. The reality is that it does occur, but it can be prevented.

Social isolation means an individual has no interaction or meaningful relationships with family, friends or neighbors. This is something we are very aware of at Meth-Wick because of the health risks associated with it. “Relationships are what make life meaningful for most of us but they require energy, dedication, and time,” says Sue Schmitt, Director of Post-Acute Care. “Those things are harder to devote time to as we age. Some seniors grow discouraged and withdraw; others just don’t have the resources needed to start with. Connections and history are lost and the prospect of starting over is daunting.”

We are able to prevent social isolation as individuals, organizations and communities. Here are steps offered by the Huffington Post article to prevent social isolation in seniors and how we are following those steps at Meth-Wick.

  • Promoting volunteer and work opportunities for seniors. Having a role and more interaction in the community can be a lifeline. We strive to make sure our residents are aware of how they can get involved at Meth-Wick because of the health benefits volunteering provides.
  • Increasing transportation options and helping older people find transportation and other services. At Meth-Wick, we have our mobility van! There are many destinations (doctors office, grocery store, restaurants, etc) that are key for seniors to stay connected. If residents know they have an affordable, convenient way to get to those destinations, social isolation is less of a concern.
  • For retirement communities, having a full range of affordable, accessible housing options. All seniors have different needs coming into retirement. Some will be more independent and others may need help with some day-to-day tasks. For this reason, Meth-Wick has different styles of living for residents to choose from so residents at all stages can have peace of mind as they enter retirement.
  • Creating support programs that allow seniors to stay connected and in their homes longer. Meth-Wick’s Home & Health program is designed to do just that. The benefit of using Meth-Wick Home & Health is the comfort and confidence you have from knowing you are working with a reputable, well-established organization whose staff is trained and professional.
  • Having fun! The Manor’s Town Center is our social hub. It includes Manor Brew coffee shop, library, billiards room, doctor’s office, gift shop, Meth-Wick in Motion exercise classroom and Fitness Zone with state-of-the-art, senior-friendly exercise equipment. Our beautiful outdoor courtyard with flowers and waterfalls is a popular spot with residents during warmer months.

“A place like Meth-Wick can help foster new relationships by smoothing the way, if you will. By providing lots of different kinds of activities, it is easy to meet people with shared interests and that makes connecting easier. We can also lighten the burden placed on the person with a disability or chronic illness by assisting with tasks of daily living. There are many things an individual does not have to worry about when he or she lives here like going out in the snow to buy groceries or dealing with a repairman. Basic needs are more easily fulfilled, so there’s more energy for the other things that enrich life and keep people connected,” Sue adds.

Retirement is an exciting next chapter for many seniors. At Meth-Wick, we want to ensure residents and their families that they will have many opportunities to continue to grow, be social and, above all, make the most out of their retirement.