The Record (Troy, NY)

Battling the Epidemic of Loneliness

- Protecting Your Future witw h iM th icMhicahea l eE l tEtitntign­eg r er aann d BBonnii e Krraahhaam­m Attorneys-at-Law

According to former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, loneliness poses real threats to both mental and physical health, including depression and anxiety, addictions, heart disease and dementia. His book “Together” reveals that loneliness affects about one-quarter of adult Americans, and “The reality is that loneliness is a natural signal that our body gives us, similar to hunger, thirst. And that’s how important human connection is.” Such is the public health crisis, that in the UK the government has appointed a Minister of Loneliness to help combat the problem.

One of the best ways to overcome loneliness is to volunteer. AARP Foundation Experience Corps reports that 85% of volunteers felt their lives had improved through their volunteeri­ng efforts.

Here are some suggestion­s and resources gleaned from Val Walker’s ground-breaking book “400 Friends and No One to Call” subtitled “Breaking Through Isolation and Building Community.”

• Be patient and compassion­ate. It takes time and understand­ing to build solid relationsh­ips.

• Cast a wide net for meeting new people. It takes a lot of “nos” to get to a “yes”.

• Stay open-minded and not too fixated on who fits your “tribe”. You might be surprised who welcomes you into their world.

• If volunteeri­ng, look for opportunit­ies to combine volunteeri­ng with socializin­g and avoid volunteeri­ng that is isolating (like stuffing envelopes).

• Have a “calling card” with your contact informatio­n.

• Go to newcomers groups or network meet ups ( to meet people who are eager to build new relationsh­ips.

• Consider “house sharing”. One of the many websites for older women is

• AARP’s website for fighting isolation, connect2af­, has many evidence-based suggestion­s to help people get more involved in their communitie­s.

• For women living in New York City or Long Island, visit

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