A new study in the US published in this month’s issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry suggests there is a strong link between loneliness and Alzheimer’s in old age.
“Dr Wilson said that loneliness probably has a physical impact as well as an emotional impact on the old person at risk of Alzheimer’s. Perhaps loneliness affects the brain so that as people get older they are more susceptible to the age-related decline in neural pathways.”
The Lonely Society Report examines how modern society has changed the way people connect – It aims to raise awareness of loneliness and its effect on our mental health, detailing steps people can take to reduce isolation.
My own grandmother pictured above who recently passed away aged almost 92 was a gregarious character who raised five children. She lived through two wars and eras in which a sense of community existed. She spent the last 30 years of her life living alone – but was lucky to have had many visitors and her memory intact right until the very end of her life “God gave me a remarkable memory” she would say. Many other elderly people are not so lucky and spend months on end without seeing anyone at all, or having any conversation, on a daily basis: a sad and harsh reality of today’s society.