The blues can be hazardous to health
June 19, 2012
Failing health and an early death await lonely seniors, a medical study asserts. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Loneliness contributes to serious health problems, according to authors of the study, published in the University of California at San Francisco’s Archives of Internal Medicine. Physicians found that patients reporting extreme loneliness were much more likely to suffer a rapid decline in health and die.
The study compared over a six-year period those individuals to others who said they were content with their social lives.
Also examined by researchers were histories of 1,600 seniors and applied a template identifying loneliness as feelings of being left out, isolated, or lacking companionship. Those emotions were considered separate from general depression.
Author Dr. Carla Perissinotto, assistant professor of geriatrics at the university, said the study should allow people to look critically at how they treat seniors.
“This country is not great at caring for its elderly. But certainly that is one of the messages, to look out for the people around you, because sooner or later that’s going to be you,” she said.