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In what we hope is the actual aftermath of the pandemic is another raging epidemic. Already prevalent before COVID-19, social isolation resulting in loneliness is rampant and dangerous. The CDC calls loneliness, especially of seniors, a serious public health problem.
The Human Resources and Services Administration goes so far as to say that “Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day…” They add that in maintaining wellness oftentimes, “medical care pales in comparison with the circumstances of the communities in which we live.”
The fact is that humans are social creatures and depend on interaction to thrive. Without it, we see a heightened risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety, and more.
On the other hand, social interaction, support, and connectedness are powerful combatants to the epidemic of loneliness.
The great news is that there’s a veritable cure for this epidemic, and it’s easily accessible. And the reported side effects are happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. The cure is friendship, with absolute optimal dosage being a lot daily! Frequent, positive social interaction can help everyone regain, and maintain, their well-being physically, mentally, and emotionally.
An article appearing in Medical News Today is entitled Face-to-Face Contact is Like a Vaccine. The title is powerful. Renowned psychologist and author Susan Pinker explains that person-to-person interaction releases the feel-good hormone dopamine, the love hormone oxytocin, and other neurotransmitters. The result, she said, is like a vaccine because “they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future.” You can’t ask for much more than that!
People can seek ways to connect with their peers in the Schaumburg area. The Barn in Schaumburg provides programming for seniors and individuals with disabilities in the community. In addition, the Schaumburg Park District’s Senior Center has games planned throughout the day.
At Friendship Village, all one has to do is walk out of their apartment in order to be greeted by and interact with neighbors, who quickly become friends. With hundreds of classes, performances, committees, social groups, happy hours, games, fitness and aquatic programs, you quickly find people with similar interests and values.
There’s a cure, right outside your door, to the loneliness epidemic, and life is so much better among friends.