More than 40% of the elderly experience loneliness on a regular basis, according to a 2017 study. That loneliness puts them at a higher risk of cognitive decline, depression, stroke, and multiple other problems; even the symptoms of the common cold are more severe when someone is lonely. Seniors who report feeling lonely also have a 45% increased risk of mortality.
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To illustrate the influence of social isolation and loneliness on the risk for premature mortality, Holt-Lunstad presented data from two meta-analyses. The first involved 148 studies, representing more than 300,000 participants, and found that greater social connection is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of early death. The second study, involving 70 studies representing more than 3.4 million individuals primarily from North America but also from Europe, Asia and Australia, examined the role that social isolation, loneliness or living alone might have on mortality. Researchers found that all three had a significant and equal effect on the risk of premature death, one that was equal to or exceeded the effect of other well-accepted risk factors such as obesity.
Source: Social isolation, loneliness could be greater threat to public health than obesity — ScienceDaily
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Researchers evaluated six years of data on 1,604 people 60 and older and found that 43% were classified as lonely. Compared with other study participants, those individuals were more prone to have their mobility decline, lose upper body strength, have trouble climbing stairs and decrease their daily activities. Loneliness also was associated with an increased risk of death, the study said.
A separate study of 8,594 adults 45 and older found that those between age 45 and 65 who live alone have significantly increased risk of mortality — and particularly cardiovascular-related death — than those who don’t live alone. That study also was published online June 18 in Archives of Internal Medicine.
via Doctors asked to consider loneliness in senior health assessment – amednews.com.