It’s that season. Twinkling lights, family get-togethers, gift giving, nostalgia. And, for many, profound sadness and depression. 

You may have noticed that McKnight’s Home Care has been a bit preoccupied with the issue of loneliness. A special five-part series that ran this week provided a window into this widespread, but not often talked-about, problem among seniors living at home. 

In this series of stories and podcasts, Staff Writer Diane Eastabrook uncovered the health consequences of this condition, how caregivers can diagnose it, what kind of technological solutions are available to help and the ways healthcare providers and the medical community can intervene. We focused so extensively on this topic because we think it is an important one for home care providers to understand and take seriously.

One idea to keep in mind is that loneliness and isolation are similar but not synonymous. Linda Fried, M.D., articulated this difference in her podcast running today. Essentially, while isolation is the state of being alone, loneliness is the feeling of being isolated and craving social connection. In other words, which Diane and the doctor flesh out, a person can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. 

So readers, now that we have laid the table, we turn to you: Is loneliness something you are concerned about? Are there actions you are taking or contemplating taking to help clients dealing with it? Is there a program or intervention that you have implemented that works particularly well? We want to hear from you.  

While McKnight’s Home Care is leaving the series behind this week, we are not going to leave behind the topic (we don’t want it to feel lonely after all). Let’s keep the conversation about loneliness going. Email your thoughts and ideas to me at [email protected]. And may you have a joyous, healthy and connection-filled New Year!

Liza Berger is editor of McKnight’s Home Care. Email her at [email protected]. Follow her @LizaBerger19.