Health and Wellness |

Loneliness Is The New Smoking

July 8, 2019
elderly man sitting alone outside in a town

Limited communication and interaction with others has such a negative effect on both mental and physical wellbeing that last year Britain appointed a Minister for Loneliness, and some Australian politicians advocate following this path, elevating the issue to a matter of public health. Research shows that feeling lonely can pose a bigger risk for premature death than smoking or obesity[1], and Dr Michelle Lim from Swinburne University of Technology, Scientific Chair of the Australian Coalition to End Loneliness, says chronic loneliness is on the rise in Australia[2].

In 2016, one in four older Queenslanders in private dwellings lived alone. Women are more likely than men to live alone, and this likelihood increased with age[3].

So what can we do about this?

We can connect, and if we need help to do that, Be can help. Apart from Transport and Home Care Packages, Be offers Domestic and Social Support services and we foresee that this wing of our offerings will grow in line with what some are describing as a looming ‘epidemic’.

Ros Knight, Chair of the Australian Psychological Society, says everyone benefits from being able to connect with other people. “Whether it’s family, friends, neighbours, people we work with, or the strangers we meet, social connections make our lives richer. They are vital for good health,” she says[4].

If you’d like to hear more about Be’s social support services, get in touch with us on 1300 761 011 today.


[1] Holt-Lunstad, Robles, and Sbarra, Advancing social connection as a public health priority in the United States.

[2] New Australian research reveals health toll of increasing loneliness

[3] Queensland Seniors—a snapshot of Older Queenslanders

[4] Feeling isolated? You’re not alone. Here’s why 1 in 4 of us is lonely

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