Loneliness Can Kill You

Life Horizons

Seniors suffering from severe loneliness are nearly twice as likely to die. That’s the bad news. The good news: more Canadians are living with a conjugal partner as they enter their senior years therefore maintaining connections for successful aging.

Research presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science was pretty dire. The impact of loneliness on premature death is nearly twice as strong as the impact of disadvantageous socioeconomic status or being obese. Loneliness increases the chances of dying early by almost 20 percent. Seniors facing loneliness may lack sleep, have elevated blood pressure and rises in stress hormones.


John Cacioppo, at the University of Chicago, conducted the research on 2,100 adults 55 and older.  He identified three core dimensions to maintain healthy relationships to avoid isolation and age successfully.

  • Intimate connections from having someone who affirms who you are (spouse or partner)
  • Relational connectedness from mutually rewarding…

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