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Link between loneliness and poor health

1st February 2011

A group of charities have launched a campaign to increase awareness about the connection between loneliness and poor health.

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Independent Age, Counsel and Care, Age UK Oxfordshire and WRVS have set up the Campaign to End Loneliness.

The charities warned that elderly people who suffer from loneliness have an elevated risk of depression, poor diet and do not take enough exercise.

The campaigners stated that one in 10 older people suffered from "intense" loneliness. They want loneliness to be acknowledged as a problem which affects public health.

They have also published the results of a survey which showed that less than one in five people knew that loneliness had a link to poor health.

The campaign said older people can often become isolated in their own homes and, as a result, lose contact with family and friends.

The campaigners said that "loneliness adversely affects the immune and cardiovascular systems" and isolation had a connection to Alzheimer's disease.

"The problems of loneliness and isolation need to be put on an equal footing with any other condition associated with ageing. Ending loneliness should be part of the solution to the challenge of reforming care and support," said campaign director Laura Ferguson.

 

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