Lonely expats risk poor mental and physical health

Published:  20 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: Study Abroad
Results of a recent study suggest that regularly feeling lonely in later years can lead to increasing health risks higher than those caused by obesity. Research carried out at the University of Chicago has reveled that loneliness in older people can boost the risk of premature death by as much as 14 per cent.

Compared against a previous study of the effects of obesity, loneliness has a far greater effect on health and longevity and is almost as damaging as disadvantaged socio-economic status. Manifestations of health problems resulting from extreme loneliness include high blood pressure, disturbed sleep patterns, depression and a decline in mental and physical health.

The report is of concern to retirees and older people planning to leave family, friends or an established social circle in order to retire overseas. According to the study, even those who are generally happy in their own company need a degree of daily social interaction to reinforce the three core dimensions of healthy relationships.

Close connectivity with a loved one reinforces your self-image, and mutually rewarding face-to-face contacts and group-related connectivity are all essential ingredients for overall health Retiring overseas can increase all three core dimensions, dependent on the local community, but a wrong choice can be devastating to mental and physical health in spite of the warmer climate and lower cost of living in many expat destinations.

Keeping in touch with old friends and family members in the home country by email and Skype plus regular visits home can balance the new with the old and avoid the adverse effects of loneliness. Visiting the chosen retirement destination for several objective months at a time before a final decision is made can avoid the possibly life-threatening consquences of a move overases.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Susanna Perkins wrote 8 years ago:

Excellent point! While you might move to a country with excellent and affordable health care, it's vital to have a strong social support system no matter where you are in the world. (Even if you stay at home!)

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