Offering information, advice and support on the causes of loneliness, potential associated health problems and ways to alleviate it.
At some point in our lives, we are all likely to experience periods of loneliness. In most cases, it is a fleeting feeling that will pass on its own. However, for many people around the world, it is becoming a major concern that can have a serious impact on physical and mental health.
While it can be experienced by people of all ages and backgrounds, those in later are more vulnerable to feelings of loneliness, with Age UK reporting that more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone.
People can experience loneliness for a number of reasons, and even those with a job, strong social circle and plenty of hobbies can be prone to feeling lonely at times. Some of the risk factors for feeling lonely in older age may include:
You may not know it but loneliness can cause some serious health concerns, having recently been linked to being as harmful for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Loneliness is linked to type 2 Diabetes
A recent study found a relationship between feelings social isolation and the development of type 2 diabetes, suggesting that these experiences of loneliness could possibly make us prone to the condition. Developing type 2 diabetes in later life comes with its own set of symptoms and risks, such as developing problems with eyesight, damages to the nerves and an increase in the likelihood of developing certain caners.
Increasing the risk of heart disease
Feelings of loneliness have been associated with serious cardiovascular issues in many separate studies, which have shown a link between loneliness and an increased chance of suffering with a stroke or developing coronary heart by as much as 30%.
Loneliness and dementia
A major study following 12,000 participants over a 10 year period confirmed that loneliness can be a huge risk factor for cognitive degeneration as we age, with the likelihood of developing dementia increasing by a massive 40% for people who feel regularly alone. There are a number of reasons why loneliness may cause dementia, such as the potentially damaging ways people deal with loneliness and the lack of mental stimulation that comes with feeling isolated.
Loneliness increases the risk of mental health problems
It is no surprise that loneliness increases the risk of developing severe mental health problems, with research suggesting that those who are lonely are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem issues.
Alleviating loneliness is at the heart of what we do. It was the vision of our founder, Richard Carr-Gomm, and it is an ethos that still runs through everything we do today. We've always been dedicated to having friendly houses that are well linked to their local community and are committed to enhancing the lives of residents by bringing everyone together for delicious shared meals and plenty of fun activities.
View our helpful support articles for advice on managing feelings of loneliness in later life.