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Age UK Study

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A study of 6,500 UK men and women aged over 52 found that being isolated from family and friends was linked with a 26% higher death risk over seven years. Age UK says cuts to services for older people are compounding the problem. It is not the first time that loneliness and social isolation has been linked with poor health. But researchers wanted to find out if it was the emotional aspect of feeling lonely that was having an impact or the reality of having little social contact. Those who were socially isolated - that is had little or no contact with friends or family - were more likely to be older and unmarried and have long-standing illnesses limiting their mobility, such as lung disease and arthritis. People who described themselves as feeling lonely were more likely to be female and have a wider range of health conditions, including depression.
(Source: BBC News from SFE April 2013 newsletter)