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  Life   More Features  15 Jun 2018  Alone but not lonely

Alone but not lonely

THE ASIAN AGE. | DR REKHA SHETTY
Published : Jun 15, 2018, 12:28 am IST
Updated : Jun 15, 2018, 12:28 am IST

Loneliness today is an epidemic with the joint family getting scattered and geographical mobility become inescapable.

(Photo: Pixabay)
 (Photo: Pixabay)

Mumbai has a new breed of dog walkers, because many people have no time to walk their dog. Los Angeles has gone several steps ahead by offering people walkers. The cost? US $30 per hour! Chuck McCarthy says there is a huge waiting list for his services. Today, he has a roster of 35 walkers and a website. You can now choose your walking route as well as your walking partner. So many people feel unsafe and anxiously walking alone.

Loneliness today is an epidemic with the joint family getting scattered and geographical mobility become inescapable. People feel their environments are unfriendly.  Becoming disabled and parents living on their own often run into loneliness as an inevitable side-effect. Add to this the growing rate of divorce and you have an epidemic that cannot be ignored.

People who are alone and feel lonely, are more likely to feel more unwell. A variety of illnesses affecting all vital organs, spiralling into serious illness, is proven by research to be caused by loneliness. The impact of social isolation on health is as deadly as well known factors like obesity, smoking and lack of exercise. Chronic inflammation as a side-effect of loneliness affects the immune response.

Governments have become alarmed about this. Britain has appointed a Minister for loneliness! Canada is considering a Minister for Connection. Growing elderly populations are also at risk for Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Today, doctors are encouraged to consider loneliness as a factor in illness.

Of all the factors that contribute to long life, social connectedness is found to be the most important. This is nothing but good old neighbourliness. Having five or more close friends has a major protective effect on wellness. Reach out and immunise yourself against the deadly impact of loneliness.

The writer is the author of Everyday Happiness Mantras

Tags: loneliness, alzheimer