Impact of loneliness on our brain and body

Strong social connections are fundamental to physical and mental well-being… negative health consequences of chronic isolation and loneliness, while harmful at any age, are especially so for older adults. According to a 2015 study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, the health effects of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

AARP December 17, 2016

Wow! There is a difference between being alone by choice and experiencing chronic loneliness. With no sense of connection, a person can be lonely even in a crowded room. On the other hand, a person can feel quite content being alone with herself or himself.

Do you wonder if individuals who isolate themselves do so because they truly want to be alone? Or do they actually feel disconnected?

Living at Montgomery Place can bring you closer to others who share common interests, economic and social status, and goals of living healthy. But simply residing here is not a tonic for loneliness. For some, initiating conversations can be challenging, especially if a person suffers from the anxiety of loneliness.

One study on interventions for loneliness found increased opportunities for social interactions had a positive impact on someone feeling lonely. While social opportunities here are plentiful, they still require effort.

So, if you find yourself feeling isolated, step out and join one of the many groups, meetings or social events at Montgomery Place. Keep trying!

And, if you notice someone, who typically doesn’t attend a gathering, extend a warm welcome. Invite them into the conversation. I joyfully witness residents doing just that every single day.

Deborah Hart