Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Health Toll Of Loneliness

FlyingDJI/via Flickr

Loneliness is often overlooked or stigmatized in our society.  Wisconsin Public Radio speaks with Dr. Carla Perissinotto, a geriatrician in San Francisco, who studies loneliness about the health risks of loneliness and why she says we should start taking it seriously. Click below to listen to the conversation:

Dr. Perissinotto says that despite treating her older patients for physical diseases, some of them weren't getting better. She thought to herself, "What else could be affecting them?" Despite a reluctance of some patients to talk about how loneliness is changing their lives, Perissinotto says her own research says even half of married people feel lonely.

"Once the conversation is opened, suddenly we start realizing that there's a bigger problem than we realize," she says.

Perissinotto says the problem is complex, and not as easy as telling someone "Well, just go to a senior center." Treating each person individually, keeping in mind their interests and their desire for social connections, may hold the key to curing loneliness, she says. Click above to listen to more of the conversation.

This story comes from Wisconsin Public Radio.