Feeling lonely and being socially isolated can often affect the elderly. While they are not the same thing, the negative health effects from struggling with either or both can reduce the quality of life of your aging loved one.
Loneliness is a distressing feeling of being alone or separated from the ones you love. A person can feel lonely even when it appears they are surrounded by people. For example, an elderly person living in a nursing home with lots of other residents can still feel very lonely because of the absence of connection to her loved ones. Social isolation is the lack of social contact and having regular, meaningful connections with people. Someone can live alone and not feel socially isolated because of the other outside connections a person has.