Friday, September 14, 2012

Study: Loneliness a Predictor of Functional Decline and Death

Earlier this week a mass email was sent out to the members of Prairie UU, where my husband and I are members.  Often times the messages relate to a request for assistance with yard work while recovering from surgery, announcing a birth/marriage/death in a family, or spreading the word about a great movie playing in theaters.  This email contained a link to a NY Times article reviewing a recent study published in JAMA.

Researchers have shown that loneliness in people age 60 and older is a predictor of functional decline and death.  According to the study, chronic loneliness is connected to a host of health concerns (high blood pressure, coronary disease, etc.).  And interestingly, many of those who reported being lonely were married or living with someone; alone does not mean you are lonely.  For those seeking to age with grace or keeping a watchful eye on a elder in the family, this article is highly informative.  The bottom line I took from the article was to find ways to connect with other people.  Focus on medical measurements is important, but relationships, quality ones, play a very important role in our lives.  Don't neglect connections with others.

Image Credit: - free image

So it seems perfect that this evening I will be joining a group of women for an annual evening out at American  Players Theater in Spring Green.  Annual traditions, good food, culture, the outdoors, and female friends -- its just what the doctor ordered (or should have).  Enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back Monday with more thought on illness, death and taxes for the middle class.

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