How to keep loneliness from ruining your retirement

Quick summary:  Loneliness and depression are growing problems with the baby boom generation.  In this article I talk about why that is, the problems that it causes and a few ideas on how to fix it. Loneliness is the sadness you feel when there’s a gap (in
quality or quantity) between how much social interaction you have and how much
you want to have.  Unfortunately, it’s a
growing problem among retirees.  According
to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, loneliness affects between 25%
and 60% of all older adults.  The baby boomer
generation reported the highest levels of loneliness and isolation.  This is a serious issue because it not only affects
quality of life, but can also have severe health consequences.  Why are retirees particularly susceptible to
loneliness (and depression) and how can you keep it from ruining your
retirement? Risk factors
As you age, there are a number of things that can affect the
quality and quantity of your relationships. 
Death.  Divorce.  Leaving the workforce.  Moving. 
Physical changes, like arthritis, can affect your mobility and keep you
homebound.  Common ailments like hearing
loss can make it harder to engage socially. 
Women are especially vulnerable because they live longer and are
therefore more likely to be impacted by one or more of the previous risk
factors.  What are some of the problems
that loneliness causes? 
Health consequences
Loneliness affects more than just your happiness and quality
of life.  It increases the risk of
depression, cognitive decline and dementia. 
It weakens the immune system.  It
increases blood pressure.  In short, it
is linked to poor health and early death. 
So let’s re-cap.  Loneliness is
more common among older people and the side-effects are no bueno.  How can you keep it from ruining your
retirement?  I put several ideas below. Fixes
Work on your social
circles.  A large study by Julianne
Holt-Lunstad of Brigham Young University found that those with greater social
connection had a 50% lower risk of early death. 
Retirement is an amazing time, but it’s also a time where your social
network can undergo serious change.  Some
of those are by choice (e.g. Read more here >>>

thumbnail courtesy of intentionalretirement.com

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