Loneliness: The hidden dangers of social isolation

Besides the obvious negatives to being lonely, recent studies have discovered that loneliness can be seriously detrimental to your health.

One recent study of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to die prematurely. One study found that effects of loneliness were comparable with those of smoking and were even more detrimental than obesity. Additionally, social isolation decreases immune function and increases the chronic inflammation connected with many illnesses like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.

Another study found that Doctors say they are able to provide better or more complete medical care to patients who have supportive families and are not socially isolated.

Scary, isn’t it? The good news is that there are tons of ways to get social and prevent feeling totally alone. Here are some steps to help you or a loved one avoid becoming socially isolated:

  • Join a club or group
  • Talk to your neighbors
  • Maintain your faith and attend services
  • Cultivate plants or take up gardening
  • Consider adopting a pet
  • Have someone teach you how to use a new technology
  • Find reliable transportation to get out into the community
  • Volunteer
  • Take a class at your local community center, YMCA, or library
  • Remain physically active
  • Consider moving into a community setting or getting a roommate
  • Ask for help when you need it

Many Aperion Care facilities offer exercise classes, events, and programming open to the community. Contact your nearest location for more information.