Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
Recent scientific studies indicate that the simple greeting hello is extremely powerful and has profound health effects. Studies say that social interaction can help us live healthier, happier, and longer lives. This study also reports that there is an epidemic of loneliness that is quietly sweeping society. Dr. Cacioppo, Ph.D., author of Loneliness; Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, says at any given time at least one in five people suffer from loneliness ranging from occasional bouts of melancholy to severe chronic lack of intimacy. He also goes ahead to point out that loneliness among the older population may increase their mortality rate by a shocking 45 percent. Additionally, there is evidence that lonely people are 64 percent more likely to develop dementia. This is far more than an emotional/psychological issue; there is an actual genetic alteration that changes the immune system linked to inflammation and susceptibility to viruses.
The only issue I disagreed with in the entire article is that this epidemic is not quiet. People may not talk about feeling lonely because there is a stigma attached to it. But I meet seniors and their families every day that are suffering the consequences of this dis-ease. Having an apple a day may keep the doctor away but eating the apple with a friend is a cure for many ailments. When my Mom lived at home, she would call and say how much she missed me and wished I could come more often. When she moved to her senior community, she was never in her home, and I would leave her messages teasing her about forgetting me! It was some of Mom’s best years; she had no responsibilities and lots of fun. She deserved that! I believe her long and active life was primarily due to living in a community.
“Nothing is as beautiful as the sound of your own name.”
Mary Kay Ash