The holiday season and another COVID-winter has increased the feelings of isolation in some

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The holiday season is here as is another COVID-influenced winter. The combination can add to feelings of isolation, especially among older adults. Dana Kennedy, the State Director of AARP, has some ideas on how to be physically and mentally healthy this special time of year.

“Two-thirds of adults are saying that they feel lonely or isolated throughout this pandemic and so the holidays just make it worse and there’s expectations as far as what you should do but it’s such a huge problem with how it can impact your health and well-being,” Kennedy said.

She expressed that the pandemic has had such a large impact on us as a society and if we’ll make the decision to come back to the office.

The effects of loneliness and isolation can be huge, “obesity and 50% potentially have dementia when there’s loneliness and isolation and we saw how hard it hit our people in long-term care facilities and people think it’s over and it’s not,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy shared that she has a friend with a father in a long-term care facility and every time someone gets COVID in the facility, they must shut down for two weeks, “she feels like she doesn’t get to spend time with her dad and if she does, she’s got to put a mask and everything on…he has dementia so he doesn’t recognize her anymore, so she feels like the time she has left with him has been diminished so much.”

To combat this feeling of loneliness, AARP has, “a lot of activities that we do online still virtually so you can definitely connect online, have a group of friends and check in on each other, make sure you keep a routine and get outside, the sun is so important,” Kennedy said.

For more information from AARP on how to stay physically and mentally healthy you can go to

Dana Kennedy, AARP AZ State Director

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