According to a study published June 18, 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older adults who are lonely are 45 percent more likely to die than their peers who are social. Additionally, a separate study shows that adults with heart disease who live alone are 25 percent more likely to die from the illness.
According to researchers, one in seven Americans live alone. The importance of this research suggests that psychosocial needs are important alongside the medical needs of older adults.
Loneliness contributes to anxiety and depression, which in turn increases health risks.
Between the ages of 45 and 65, those adults who lived alone had a 24 percent higher risk of death; only 12 percent had a higher risk of death between the ages of 66 and 80.
In the loneliness study, 43 percent of the subjects reported they felt lonely. 23 percent of those individuals died over the course of the six-year study. Only 14 percent of those subjects who did not report loneliness died.
Subjects who reported being lonely also said they felt decreased ability to perform daily activities.
Researchers say adults who live alone might be less likely to call an ambulance or a doctor for help. They suggest that doctors ask patients if they live alone, so they might be able to offer additional care or support services for these individuals.