For America’s older adults, loneliness is all too common: 43% of adults aged 60+ say they feel lonely regularly, and 1 in 4 older adults struggle with being socially isolated. This lack of connection can have life-threatening consequences, and older people who regularly feel alone have a 45% increased risk of dying sooner than their socially connected peers.
In fact, loneliness is more of a health risk than obesity, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, or even smoking up to 15 cigarettes per day.
Significant research shows that feeling lonely, or being socially isolated, significantly increases the risk for:
- Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Greater stress and depression
- Slower wound healing and susceptibility to viruses
- Future falls
- Poorer sleep