Working at Age UK it’s impossible to escape the topic of loneliness.
It affects upwards of 1m older people in the UK and is practically invisible to most of us.
I came across this piece by Judith Shulevitz from 2013 talking about “The Lethality of Loneliness” and – specifically – why loneliness is so damaging:
“Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.”
There are things that can be done, but it’s tough. Lonely people are – by their very nature – hard to find and identify.
– If you want to find out more about the issue or help someone who may be affected head to www.ageuk.org.uk/loneliness