The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Health
Social isolation and loneliness have potential negative effects on our health especially on our Senior Citizens.
Have you ever felt lonely? Did it affect your health? Did you almost give up?
This article written for the New York Times is quite insightful. What do you think?
The potentially harmful effects of loneliness and social isolation on health and longevity, especially among older adults, are well established. Among older people who reported they felt left out, isolated or lacked companionship, the ability to perform daily activities like bathing, grooming and preparing meals declined and deaths increased.
Though equivalent in risk, loneliness and social isolation don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. In other words, people can be socially isolated and not feel lonely; they simply prefer a more hermitic existence. Likewise, people can feel lonely even when surrounded by lots of people, especially if the relationships are not emotionally rewarding. In fact, most lonely individuals are married, live with others and are not clinically depressed.
While it is not certain whether loneliness or social isolation has the stronger effect on health and longevity, “if we recognize social connections as a fundamental human need, then we can’t discount the risks of being socially isolated even if people don’t feel lonely.”
Equally intriguing is a recent finding suggesting that loneliness may be a preclinical sign for Alzheimer’s disease. Using data from the Harvard Aging Brain Study of 79 cognitively normal adults living in the community, Dr. Donovan and colleagues found a link between the participants’ score on a three-question assessment for loneliness and the amount of amyloid in their brains. Amyloid accumulation is considered a main pathological sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
In this study, loneliness was not associated with the extent of people’s social network or social activity or even with their socioeconomic status.
Read the full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/11/well/mind/how-loneliness-affects-our-health.html?smid=url-share