Despite being married or being surrounded by people, it is still possible to have a feeling of isolation, which can deteriorate our health. A study conducted by US researchers strongly suggests that people who are in their elderly days (ages 50 and up) should continually engage themselves socially. They further warned against retiring to the sun, stating that who are retired should keep in touch with their friends and loved ones.
“We have mythic notions of retirement. We think that retirement means leaving friends and family and buying a place where it is warm and living happily ever after. But that’s probably not the best idea,” John Cacioppo, a psychology professor, added. “We find people who continue to interact with coworkers after retirement and have friends close by are less lonely. Take time to enjoy yourself and share good times with family and friends. Non-lonely people enjoy themselves with other people.”
Many people nowadays are communicating virtually over the internet, rather than the actual, face-to-face conversation. This, along with Britain’s threat of an ageing population, are what also makes the warning alarming. “We are experiencing a silver tsunami demographically,” Professor Cacioppo warns. “The baby boomers are reaching retirement age. People have to think about how to protect themselves.”
John Cacioppo spent 20 years on the study of the effects of loneliness. Along with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he studied the health of 2,000 men and women who are over 50 years of age for 6 years. They found out that people tend to be more alert and wake up more, even at the slightest noise when we are in the sense of being lonely.
The researchers also found out that a deep sense of isolation (e.g. feeling cut off from others) can trigger blood pressure, which may result to heart attacks and strokes. Loneliness can also interrupt sleep, leave people listless, weaken the immune system, induce sleeping pills intake, and trigger depression; which are real dangers for your health.
In their study, the researchers advised that being lonely in your elderly years could be worse for your health than obesity. In equation, loneliness could be twice as likely to kill you as being fat, in which the health risks are also dangerous. The study also demonstrated that people who are lonely are twice as likely to die during that period than those who felt important and loved.
source: World Observer