Bernie Sanders Wants to Alleviate Senior Loneliness


From Jacobin: “According to a study published in March, one-third of American seniors feel lonely. The same study found that nearly 30 percent of seniors reported they socialized with family, friends, or neighbors once a week or less. Senior isolation is correlated not just to a decline in mental wellbeing but also physical wellbeing, with another study concluding that ‘Lonely people are 50 percent more likely to die prematurely than those with healthy social connections.’

Senior loneliness is a public health issue, which means it’s a political problem. Bernie Sanders is treating it like one, and proposing a political solution: create a new office within the Administration for Community Living to address social isolation among seniors . . .

Addressing social isolation directly is only one part of Sanders’s plan for seniors. In the United States, 6.9 million seniors live in poverty and nine million experience food insecurity. ‘Since 2001,’ Sanders’s campaign says, ‘senior hunger has increased by 45 percent.’ Therefore Sanders proposes to expand Social Security, protect pensions, and quadruple the funding for the Older Americans Act, which provides home meals and other critical services.'”

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  1. My understanding is that loneliness is actually much worse among Millennials than any other generation. Specifically, the number of Millennials who report having ZERO friends is more than double that of seniors. Although the problem may be compounded for seniors by isolation, which isn’t quite the same issue. There have been stories about renting units in senior housing to younger people that commit to socializing with the older residents and I’m sure there are other ways to address senior isolation. Maybe programs should aim to address both issues of senior and millennial loneliness by creating more opportunities for intergenerational socializing and friendships to form.

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  2. Bernie Sanders is…proposing a political solution: create a new office within the Administration for Community Living to address social isolation among seniors . . .

    Love ya Bernie but this is pretty pathetic…when in doubt enhance the bureaucracy??

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    • And you call yourself a liberal OH? Tsk tsk.

      Alleviating loneliness is commendable but it’s not the government’s job. Actually what Sanders describes is increasing material goods–money, food, etc.

      It still does not deal with isolation or alienation. These depend on community groups such as churches/senior centers, individuals who will visit shut ins, and the willingness of seniors to reach out to others in retirement instead of chilling in front of the tube 15 hours a day.

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