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ALPENA, Mich. —  New government data shows life expectancy in the U.S. has reached the lowest level since 2003.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, people are living on average just over 77 years. The pandemic along with other factors, including overdoses, homicide, diabetes, and chronic liver disease also contributed to the decline.

Lenny Avery, executive director of the Alcona County Commission on Aging said COVID-19 uncovered a lot of important matters.

“I think having everyone on lockdown without the ability to move around or having an infrastructure where people can be mentally and physically stimulated showed we need to continue to poor money into these programs,” said Avery.

Laurie Sauer, director of the Area Agency on Aging for NEMSCA said the level of substance abuse is also a contributing factor.  She said social isolation is a huge risk factor for older adults.

“We can improve our outlook on life by volunteering and spending time with others,” said.