Skip Navigation

HHS HealthBeat (August 29, 2012)

Lonely and living less

A man shrugs.
Listen to TipAudio

Take the Next Step

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates older people who feel lonely may have shorter and less healthful lives.

At the University of California, San Francisco, Carla Perissinotto saw that in national survey data on 1,600 people with an average age of 71. Those who felt lonely were about 60 percent more likely to lose ability to do activities needed for daily living, and 45 percent more likely to die.

Perissonotto has ideas on how older people can avoid loneliness:

“Examine what is going on their life, think about the quality of relationships they have, and focus on increasing social connectivity.”

The study in Archives of Internal Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health and HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: August 29, 2012