(WZAW) -- The medicare annual enrollment period, a time for medicare-eligible people to choose the plan that's best for them, is underway.
While most seniors will focus on their physical well-being, it's important they keep in mind other critical aspects of their health, including staying socially connected.
On Thursday, the head of Aetna Medicare, Christopher Ciano, joined the Deep Bench via satellite. He said social isolation is a serious issue for older adults.
"We know that social isolation becomes more and more important as seniors age, and in fact, according to a CVS Health study, 1 in 5 seniors have reported a lack of desire or motivation to be social" he explained.
He explained that loneliness has a big impact on mortality and is equal to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
"I think it's very important for seniors to realize that activities and the social connections they had as they were living their lives, now as they're older, can continue, whether it's doing the same things or even doing new things."
Medicare Advantage Plans can help seniors feel less socially isolated, Ciano said, by looking at seniors in a holistic way.
"They offer different programs and services beyond just traditional benefits like transportation,meal delivery."
Through Aetna, there's a program called Resources for Living.
"It focuses on loneliness and other social issues and connecting seniors with local resources in their communities. Our Resource for Living counselors work one-on-one with our members to deal with whatever issue or challenge they're potentially having."
For more information visit: Aetnamedicare.com/listen