Loneliness and social isolation are two of the most serious problems that confront the elderly.

Loneliness increases an older person’s chances of premature death, and the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Feeling isolated can disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, interfere with immunity, increase depression and anxiety and lower feelings of wellbeing and quality of life.

It is not the solitude or physical isolation itself, but rather the sense of isolation that is problematic. People may live alone but not feel lonely, or live with others and feel lonely.

Living alone does not necessarily mean loneliness if one remains…

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