Loneliness: the silent killer

A RECENT British study has revealed loneliness can be twice as dangerous for the health of older people as obesity.

The study tracked more than 2000 people aged older than 50 and found that the loneliest were almost twice as likely to die during the six-year study period as the least lonely people involved in the study.

Compared with the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying.

Half of those who took part in the survey said their loneliness was worse at weekends and three-quarters suffered feelings of loneliness more at night.

The study also revealed that many people needed to rethink how and where they should retire. Many people thought of retiring as selling their house and moving to some idyllic location based on good weather and lifestyle, when keeping close to friends and family was even more important when we age.

The findings also suggested that people needed to feel involved and valued by those near to them, and that company alone was not enough to impact positively.

The study also showed people who continued to interact with co-workers after retirement and had friends close by were less likely to feel lonely.

Study results also highlighted the benefits of services for the elderly that connected them with others, including home visits for people feeling lonely or isolated.

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