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Loneliness

Did you know there is a difference between being alone and loneliness?
Some individuals enjoy time alone to reflect on their day or participate in an activity. However, loneliness is different; it is a sense of being alone that includes distress or unpleasant feelings associated with having fewer-than-desired social relationships.

Loneliness can affect anyone, at any age. We have all felt it from time to time, even when we have people around us. When we feel like we are disconnected with others, it can lead to feelings of sadness and can bring on worry.

Studies have shown that chronic loneliness can have negative effects on your mental and physical health. Did you know that loneliness was found to be worse for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day? Loneliness can be worse for your health than obesity and lack of exercise. When we think about a person’s health, we often hear recommendations to quit smoking, eat right and exercise. However, we don’t always target loneliness as a health issue. 

Negative Health Effects of Loneliness

  • Chronic health conditions, including heart disease
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dementia, including Alzheimer’s
  • Admission to nursing homes or use of emergency services

Learn If You Might Be at Risk

You may be at risk if you experience any of the following:

  • Living alone
  • Mobility or sensory impairment
  • Major life transitions or losses
  • Low income or limited financial resources
  • Being a caregiver for someone with a serious condition
  • Psychological or cognitive challenges
  • Inadequate social support
  • Rural, unsafe and/or inaccessible neighborhood
  • Transportation access challenges

Ideas for Staying Connected

  • Re-engage in an activity that you enjoy or learn something new
  • Attend a class, go to a community or senior center
  • Get moving, exercise decreases stress, boosts your mood and increases your energy
  • Volunteer, you’ll feel better by helping others
  • Stay in touch with family, friends and neighbors in person, online or by phone
  • Consider adopting a pet. Animals can be a good source of comfort and may also lower stress and blood pressure

Video

An Answer to Loneliness: Building Connections at Senior Services

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

If you or your loved one is in a crisis, dial 988 or chat with Lifeline at 988lifeline.org.

Referral Contact and Insurance Questions

MyMichigan Medical Center Alma
Inpatient Coordinator/Insurance Specialist
(989) 466-3304

Nurse Manager
(989) 466-7266
After Hours: (989) 466-7170 or (989) 466-7171

Partial Hospitalization Program
(989) 466-3253

MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena
Inpatient Care
(989) 356-7258

Outpatient Care
(989) 356-7242

MyMichigan Medical Center Midland
24-Hour Admission Line
(989) 839-3690

Partial Hospitalization Program
(989) 839-3385

Nursing Director
(989) 839-3775