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From the day you entered this world, you began a stage of life that consisted of your parents or caregivers taking care of your every need, helping you along as you grew independent enough to perform certain tasks on your own. As you grew and developed into an exploring child, independent teen, and eventual decision-making adult, the same rang true, as with each stage of life new experiences were had, new lessons were learned, and newfound confidence and independence were gained.

In these years of growth and development, you were not only surrounded by parents and close family members who helped you along, but friends, acquaintances, teachers and mentors — even strangers who all made lasting impacts in your life to help get you where you are today.

However, as years go on, time has a way of taking those we love away from us, causing the inescapable and often unbearable feeling of loneliness. Whether it is losing aging parents and spouse, or watching good friends pass from this life to the next — even the joys of watching grown children have families of their own and move away can bring about feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Feelings like these have a way of stopping us in our tracks. Soon, loneliness turns into depression, causing that once vibrant zest for life and learning to disappear. It is during these times when we begin to sink further down, succumbing to what many believe is the natural process of aging. In fact, according to a study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, depression among older adults can have serious consequences including suicide that is more closely associated with depression than in younger adults. Additionally, a 2015 study published in the journal, Perspectives on Psychological Science shows that lacking social connections is as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Is there a cure for loneliness in aging adults?

While loneliness and depression may be natural and even the norm among aging adults, that doesn't mean that there isn't a way to overcome it.

In the same NLM study, it stated that the pathway to depression in adults may be the curtailment of daily activities, and that problem-solving skills training and group support play a part in combatting these feelings of anxiety.

Yes, even as we age we still need daily support from those around us to help us learn and grow, and gain confidence that we can still lead an independent and healthy life.

The staff at Summit Vista knows that retirement is just another wonderful and exciting stage in life that should be celebrated with opportunities to learn, grow, meet new people, have new mentors and continue to live life to its fullest.

Because life at any stage is worth living.