Loneliness weighs on the morale but also on the physical state. A study shows that people living alone are more likely to die within one year of cardiac hospitalization. The finding is worrying, but there are many ways to stop being isolated.
Some dream of a little time for themselves, others dream of being accompanied. In 2017, 672,621 people contacted SOS Friendship by phone, messenger or chat. The figure is slightly up on the previous year. The volunteers of the association find in everyday life the difficulties felt by isolated people: anxiety, depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts. But the consequences of loneliness are not only psychic.
Loneliness, harmful after a heart operation
A student at the University of Copenhagen Cardiology Center presented the results of her research at the European Cardiovascular Society Congress in Dublin on 9 June. They show that people who have been hospitalized for heart problems are more likely to die in the following months if they are alone. The study was conducted on 13,000 people aged 65 years on average. Men are particularly concerned: those who live alone are twice as likely to die as others in the year following their hospitalization.
In an interview with FigaroAnne Vinggaard Christensen, the doctoral student at the university, explains that this is not true for women: "Research has shown that men mainly use their wives as the primary support, while women often more supportive people who are not their husbands. " When she became interested in loneliness, the data between women and men crossed. Whether it is a man or a woman, the mortality doubles in the twelve months following the exit of the hospital for those who declare to feel lonely.
How to overcome loneliness?
One in ten people in France suffers from loneliness. Structures and associations try to break this vicious circle by providing listening and support to isolated people. Since 1960, SOS Amitié offers these people a hotline 24 hours a day. Associations also offer their support visually, as Astrée who organizes meetings between its volunteers and isolated people. It has eleven branches throughout France: Lille, Saint-Etienne, Rennes, Toulouse or Montpellier.
An application to stop dine alone
The new technologies, from smartphones to laptops, are often accused of helping to increase loneliness, but it can also be the other way around. In Nice for example, the Justdin mobile app was created to offer people who eat alone to share meals with people in the same situation. To avoid any misunderstanding, the user can specify his interests, the languages he masters, etc. Ammy Générations offers a similar concept: the app allows seniors and young people to meet for a meal, a helping hand or a simple meeting.
What counts to break the isolation, is to recreate the social bond whatever the means. More "classic" methods exist: neighborhood or village associations frequently offer activities. Some agencies have specialized in traveling for single people. The idea is not to create a tailor-made trip for one person, but rather to bring together several people interested in the same destination. At the governmental level, the MONALISA program focuses on the isolation of the elderly. 446 organizations are gathered there and all act against loneliness in their own way. Because to fight against isolation, it is better to fight with others.