Guard against falls if living alone or lacking social interaction
In the U.S., 27% of adults 60 and older live alone -- more than in any other country. A Pew Research Center survey of 130 nations found that globally only 16% of older folks live solo.
Given how many older folks live alone -- and the increase in isolation this past year -- researchers from University College in London would not find it surprising that 25% of Americans who are 65 and older fall each year or that every 11 seconds an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall and every 19 minutes an older adult dies from one.
Their recent study, published in Scientific Reports, found those 50 and older who live alone have an 18% greater risk of reporting a fall and older people with the least social contact have a 24% increased risk of a fall compared to those who have the most social interaction.
What accounts for the correlation between being alone and isolated and falling? Theories include the fact that you become less focused when you're not interacting with others; that loneliness can cause depression, which can increase carelessness; and that you may become more sedentary if you live alone, weakening your muscles and reducing balance.
So here you have another reason why it's essential to interact with the world daily -- through online courses, video and audio chats, and volunteering. The emotional rewards are enormous, and you may reduce your risk of a bone-busting fall that will damage the quality of your life or even shorten it.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.