Social isolation is a growing public health concern for people of all ages. It doesn’t help that we live in a digital age that often leaves people feeling alone in a room full of others who are dialed in on their devices.

But while we all deal with loneliness from time to time, there’s a difference between feeling it occasionally and feeling it over time. A state of chronic isolation is when problems start to arise.

The health concerns of isolation, which vary from psychological to physical, are especially detrimental for older adults. Studies have shown a direct link between chronic loneliness and memory, physical well-being, mental health, and even life expectancy — in fact, chronic loneliness may actually have a bigger impact on life expectancy than being overweight or sedentary.

This threat to health is also more pervasive than many might think. Roughly one-third of seniors experience chronic loneliness and are at risk of dealing with these problems.

So how do we help this? When seniors have access to age-friendly transportation wheelchairs and systems, it can be one of the biggest combatants of social isolation. With safe transport options, they can leave their homes and head into the world whether independent or with caregivers’ assistance.