Loneliness is twice as likely to kill older people as obesity
- 17 Feb
A six year study has found that loneliness is twice as unhealthy as obesity for older people.
Scientists tracked over 2,000 people aged 50 and over and found that the loneliest were twice as likely to die as the least lonely, reports the Guardian.
When comparing the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying. This figure means that loneliness has around twice the impact on an early death as obesity. The risk of an early death increased by 19% if the person was in poverty.
A study of loneliness in older people in Britain in 2012 found that over a fifth felt lonely all the time and a quarter became lonelier over five years. Half of those who took part in the survey said that their loneliness was worse at weekends and three-quarters suffered more at night.
Previous studies have linked loneliness to a range of health problems ranging from high blood pressure and a weakened immune system to a greater risk of depression. John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago, says that the pain of loneliness is similar to physical pain.
Cacioppo said the world was experiencing a "silver tsunami" as baby boomers reached retirement age. "People have to think about how to protect themselves from depression, low subjective well-being and early mortality," he said. "We have mythic notions of retirement. We think that retirement means leaving friends and family and buying a place down in Florida where it is warm and living happily ever after. But that's probably not the best idea. We find people who continue to interact with co-workers after retirement and have friends close by are less lonely. Take time to enjoy yourself and share good times with family and friends. Non-lonely people enjoy themselves with other people."
Researchers found that some people were happy living a life of solitude, however others still felt lonely and their mental health suffered due to this. The findings suggest that people needed to feel involved and valued by those to the them and that company alone was not enough.
Caroline Abrahams at Age UK said the study added to a growing body of research showing that being lonely not only made life miserable for older people, but also made them more vulnerable to illness and disease.
"It's time we took loneliness seriously as a threat to a happy and healthy later life. We need to do more to support older people to stay socially connected. This is a big part of our job at Age UK and everyone can help by being a good friend or neighbour to the older people they know," she said.
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/982475
- 01 Sep
Older people need more male carers
Professor Martin Green has said that the government needs to do more to recruit males into front-line adult social care roles, reports the BBC.Prof Green has said that with the increasing number of...
- 25 Aug
Survey finds older people have better quality of life in retirement villages than care homes
Chief executive of Audley Retirement, Nick Sanderson, has said that demand for his form of extra-care housing was so strong he could not build homes fast enough, reports the Guardian.He said: “I...
- 12 Aug
Older people’s Commissioner disappointed by Welsh Government
Sarah Rochira, Wale’s Commissioner for older people has said she is “extremely disappointed” at the response from the Welsh Government to its call for action to protect residents in care homes,...
- 31 Jul
Charity warns of loneliness in older people
The Campaign to End Loneliness charity want a “range of support” for older people to help them fight loneliness, reports the BBC. The charity says that transport and technology are essential to...
- 27 Jul
New housing for older people promised
Members of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet have decided to create 150 new homes for older people on the site of a care home that closed down in 2014 due to Legionella, reports Get West...
- 22 Jul
New drug provides hope for older people with Parkinsons
Scientists have found that people taking glitazone pills were less likely to develop Parkinson’s than people taking other diabetes drugs. However, they have cautioned that the drugs could have...
- 15 Jul
Lack in dignity when caring for older people in hospital
In a poll from 2012 it has been found that poor care is most likely to be experienced by people over the age of 80, reports the BBC. Over a third of patients who need help at mealtimes did not...
- 09 Jul
New housing development for older people in Sunderland
A 16.3m housing and care scheme has been opened by the Leader of Sunderland Council, reports Sunderland Echo.The accommodation provides 158 two-bedroom apartments for older people and 17 one bed...
- 07 Jul
Social care cuts leaving older people stranded
Age UK is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to put an end to cuts to social care funding due to the increasing rate the older population is growing, reports the Yorkshire Post. Age UK has...
- 01 Jul
Charity wants priority for older people in housing
Erosh represents organisation providing housing and support to 120,000 older people and has written to new government ministers in opposition, reports Inside Housing.The letter calls on ministers to...
How to Fund Housing Support and Social Care Sevices Extremely informative, excellent speaker. Alison Halstead - Riverside ECHG