The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day
Major media outlets in the USA are responding to numerous studies that illustrate the toxic effects of isolation and chronic loneliness on the health and well-being of the elderly.
In September and December, The New York Timespublished three articlesthat shone a national spotlight on the effects of social isolation. Just before Christmas, the Star Tribunefeatured a touching portrayal of the loneliness experienced by Terry, an elder friend, and the role Little Brothers - Friends of the Elderly – Minneapolis/St. Paul chapter plays in her life to offset her isolation. And in January, NPR broadcast the story of Emil, who became isolated and lonely after suffering a stroke, and Shipra, his visiting volunteer who was matched to him through LBFE's San Francisco chapter. The story was then published in the Chicago Tribune.
“The health risks of PROLONGED ISOLATION are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” - The AARP Foundation
These major media outlets are responding to numerous studies that illustrate the toxic effects of isolation and chronic loneliness on the health and well-being of the elderly. According to one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), loneliness is linked to decline in nearly every functional ability. Other studies reveal a connection to impaired mental performance; compromised immune systems; increases in vascular, inflammatory and heart disease; and an increased risk of death.