Healthy Lifestyle ~ Get Social

In an effort to ward off the loneliness that followed his wife’s death, a 94-year-old man in Minnesota decided to install a swimming pool in his back yard for the neighborhood children. His back yard is now a hub of activity in the summer, filled with laughter, splashing children, and their parents and grandparents. And he’s no longer alone. While not everyone would be willing to go to such extreme lengths to make social connections, contact with other people should still be a top priority. Chronic loneliness does more than just make you bored; it can actually harm your health. “The experience of being lonely appears to be bad for one’s health,” says Dr. Nancy J. Donovan, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an associate psychiatrist at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Loneliness is associated with depression, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, declines in mobility and daily function, and increased risk of early death.

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