Loneliness Vs. Obesity
Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the US. But According to the Guardian people over 50 face an even greater danger. Loneliness.
Loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity, according to researchers who found that feelings of isolation can have a devastating impact on older people.
The scientists tracked more than 2,000 people aged 50 and over and found that the loneliest were nearly twice as likely to die during the six-year study than the least lonely.
Compared with the average person in the study, those who reported being lonely had a 14% greater risk of dying. The figure means that loneliness has around twice the impact on an early death as obesity. Poverty increased the risk of an early death by 19%.
The findings point to a coming crisis as the population ages and people increasingly live alone or far from their families. A study of loneliness in older Britons in 2012 found that more than a fifth felt lonely all the time, and a quarter became more lonely over five years. Half of those who took part in the survey said their loneliness was worse at weekends, and three-quarters suffered more at night.
This is scary news, but there is a bright side. The Eden Alternative was founded on the principles that the Three Plagues loneliness, helplessness, and boredom are more devastating to Elders than any medical condition.
While we know the very real danger of loneliness, we also know the cure. We find encouragement in hard science illuminating real consequences of The Plagues. The more exposure they get, the more people see it can be different, the greater chance we have of helping create a life worth living for elders.