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The Danger of Social Frailty

It's not hard to identify seniors who are physically frail. There are a ton of tests in the healthcare system to measure whether someone is medically fragile. However, doctors do not often talk about Social Frailty. It's essentially a measure of how isolated someone has become. Numerous studies have come up with questions to identify the level of isolation, and it is clear that lonely people do not live as long. I have discussed before how feeling isolated can have serious negative effects on your health, but there are also other logistical barriers to staying healthy. Among other issues, seniors who are isolated don't have someone to:

  • Report if they have had an accident

  • Care for them after a health event

  • Drive to them to doctors visits if they are not feeling well

  • Identify if they have stopped eating well

If you have an older loved one who is living alone, they probably tell you that they are doing fine. It's worth asking some extra questions about what would happen if they had a health event. A person who is socially active will have a network that can get help with at least some of those scenarios. If not, it may be time to start talking about moving them closer to you.

Penny Brandt-Roy helps clients find senior communities in the Metro Atlanta area. For more information on her free service, visit

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