I read on the BBC news today about a study which supports a previously proposed link between loneliness and the development of Alzheimer’s. It suggests that elderly people are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s if they are lonely.
This is an interesting correlation, particularly when you look at it from a human givens perspective. If you are feeling lonely it’s a sign that you are not meeting an essential human need, or ‘given’ – the need to feel connected to other people. The influence on health and wellbeing from these unmet emotional needs is immense, as we have discussed time and time again.
The ongoing results from the ENA project survey (almost 1900 people have taken it so far) indicates that 28.9% of the UK population feel they are not connected to some part of the wider community. Furthermore, 30.6% feel they don’t receive enough attention and 20.3% feel they are not emotionally connected to others.
When you extrapolate that percentage, it translates to over 17 million people in the UK who don’t feel part of the wider community. It’s difficult to imagine how in a country with such a high population for its size people can be feeling excluded and alone, and I feel herein lies the problem, and perhaps the solution. It’s not distance that separates these people, but limitations imposed by the cultural and social environment they live in.
Posted by: Eleanor