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This content has not been reviewed within the past year and may not represent WebMD's most up-to-date information. See the latest news and features on Healthy Seniors. March 4, -- One in three older adults say they lack companionship, a new poll has found, and the feeling is more likely in people with health problems. The poll of 2, adults ages 50 to 80 also found that one in four people surveyed say they feel isolated, says Erica Solway, PhD, a social science researcher at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who helped direct the survey.
It seems to hit hardest in older adults who have health issues, but she is not sure if the health issues trigger the isolation or vice versa. Among its other findings:. Health problems played a role, too. Twenty-six percent of adults who said they felt a lack of companionship said they were in fair to poor physical health.
Adults with hearing problems and mental health issues reported more feelings of isolation and loneliness. More than a quarter of the respondents said they only had social contact once weekly, or less, with family members they don't live with, friends, and neighbors.
The findings are largely consistent with other recent research, and health officials have been sounding the alarm about the negative health effects of loneliness. Recent research has shown that people who are lonely and isolated are more likely to have heart disease and strokeget immune system problems, and may even have a harder time recovering from cancer.
Another study found that loneliness also raises the risk of premature death among people of all ages. In teens, it is much more intrinsic.
They are trying to get their lives together, their act together. He recalls a patient who retired at 86, and ''he was not the same guy. He had no place to go. To combat loneliness, "social connections and healthy behaviors can help," Solway says. The same benefits seemed to hold for exercising regularly and getting enough sleepshe says.
If so, he says, "consider why you felt that the social engagement in those situations was far less than what you would have liked to have. Or you may decide to lessen your need for social interactions and instead read or watch a movie to combat feelings of isolation. Fixing loneliness isn't as simple as telling an isolated older adult to a senior center, Reuben says. Boosting the social connections can ease loneliness, but the activity has to fit with a person's personality.
Healthy Aging News. Who Is Lonely? Living alone was linked with feeling lonely. Loneliness and Health The findings are largely consistent with other recent research, and health officials have been sounding the alarm about the negative health effects of loneliness. Could I have CAD? Missing Teeth?You took my heart in older women adult lonelys
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'I'm surrounded by people - but I feel so lonely'