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New report highlights social isolation challenges post-pandemic in Finger Lakes

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  • Staff Report 

A recent study by Common Ground Health reveals that adults, particularly those aged 50-64, are experiencing increased social isolation and loneliness following the Covid-19 pandemic. The report, derived from the 2022 “My Health Story” survey across the Rochester-Finger Lakes region, underscores the widespread nature of this issue, affecting individuals across various income levels and educational backgrounds. Notably, major life changes such as retirement and health challenges have exacerbated isolation among older adults, while pandemic-related disruptions have significantly impacted younger populations.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s 2023 advisory on loneliness and isolation further corroborates the findings, likening the mortality risk of social disconnection to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. It highlights the substantial financial and health implications of isolation, emphasizing the need for community and intergenerational connections to mitigate these effects. The advisory calls for governmental and community efforts to address the epidemic of loneliness, underlining its profound impact on mental, physical, and societal health.

In response, Common Ground Health advocates for policies and programs that foster intergenerational learning and community engagement. Local initiatives like the St. John’s Collaborative for Intergenerational Learning are praised for their role in combating social isolation. The report encourages creative solutions to bridge generational gaps and enhance social cohesion, aiming to reverse the trend of isolation and promote a sense of belonging and support within communities.