Updated: Jan 18
Human beings have thrived by being productive members of a social group.¹ When these social relationships are impaired, the desires for connection that were once satisfied leave individuals in a state of loneliness.² This loneliness can have severe consequences on an individual’s mental and physical health, especially among older people. For instance, loneliness can lead to various psychological disorders, such as depression, alcoholism, personality disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease.² It may also increase your risk for various physical disorders such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, premature psychological ageing, cancer, and poor hearing.² Therefore, it is important to intervene at the right time to limit loneliness across the globe. For older men and women, start by frequenting card games and television, as one study showed these hobbies were linked to lesser feelings of loneliness.³ In another study, pet owners were shown to be 36% less likely than non-pet owners to report loneliness.⁴ Keeping a regular schedule can also give a grasp of control to each day, combatting the itch of emptiness.⁵ Whether it be a stunning painting or a beautiful poem, the process of creating something can also help to express oneself and bring meaning to each sunrise, even if the circumstances that make one lonely, such as living arrangements, are uncontrollable.⁵ By keeping themselves busy, people can prevent loneliness from taking over and affecting the quality of life they experience.⁵ References
Steinberg, Rebecca m. “Social Animals | Encyclopedia.Com.” Encyclopedia, www.encyclopedia.com/science/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/social-animals. Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.
Mushtaq, R., Shoib, S., Shah, T., & Mushtaq, S. (2014). Relationship between loneliness, psychiatric disorders and physical health? A review on the psychological aspects of loneliness. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.7860/JCDR/2014/10077.4828
Teh, J. K. ., & Tey, N. P. (2019). Effects of selected leisure activities on preventing loneliness among older Chinese. SSM - Population Health, 9, 100479–100479. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100479
Stanley, I. H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C., & Van Orden, K. A. (2014). Pet ownership may attenuate loneliness among older adult primary care patients who live alone. Aging & Mental Health, 18(3), 394–399. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.83714
Cuncic, Arlin. “Ways to Feel Less Lonely During the Coronavirus.” Verywell Mind, 2021 About, Inc. (Dotdash), 27 Mar. 2020, www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-loneliness-during-coronavirus-4799661.