Feeling sad and lonely is more than just the occasional emotional valley. It's causing physical health problems in millions of aging Americans - possibly your parents. Social Isolation and loneliness may just represent a greater public health hazard than obesity!
If you're over-60 parents are lonely, well, they're not alone! UTMB's Dr. Mukaila Raji says he sees this often in his practice. “So many of my geriatric patients are isolated and lonely. That’s dangerous because those who are lonely have a significantly higher risk of stroke, heart attack and premature death.”
There’s even a condition called the ‘broken heart syndrome.’ “This is heart disease happens to a person who has lost their spouse or other loved one.”
To help your folks, Dr. Raji says to encourage them to attend church, join a book club or take a class. Look for a volunteer opportunity for them. They need to feel needed.
Also they could join a free Covia Community Services program called Well Connected. People from all over the country meet to discuss various topics in a conference-call-type setting. This is especially good if they are mostly home-bound. Click here to see how the program works and to see their current catalog of guided conversations.