“ We are all so much together, but we are all dying of loneliness” Albert Schweitzer
Loneliness has an impact on an individual’s health and it does kill.
The lack of social integration and social support that accompanies loneliness increases the risk of death more than such things as poor diet, obesity, heavy smoking, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise
There is a change of social integration across all ages. The youths are engrossed in work and have less human interaction out of work due to social media and gaming. There is a growth in the ageing population and the previously family support is diminishing. This is becoming worse in nations that have no social services support system.
Going forward, it is important to promote mental and physical health across age groups:
1. Keep your network of friends
2. Keep active and connected by joining community groups and group activities (dance, sport, theatre, garden tea parties, hobbies etc)
3. Call or visit someone you haven’t seen for a while
4. Visit home-bound individuals
5. Be compassionate
6. Be a friend
Humans are relational in interaction and loneliness should not be allowed to fester as societal structures and values change.
By Dr Rotimi Jaiyesimi (Nigerian Health Service) NARP50PLUS Member