NEW YORK -- The holidays are a joyful time for many people, but the festivities can trigger loneliness.
There's evidence being lonely can literately shorten your life, and these feeling can be experienced at any age.
Research finds more than half of people over 80 surveyed admit feeling alone, and 71% of adolescents and young adults also have similar thoughts.
We spoke with Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Dean Dr. Linda Fried for some strategies to cope.
Dr. Fried explained how loneliness impacts our physical and mental health, and why the holidays are such a vulnerable time.
She offered these suggestions:
- Make a resolution to volunteer
- Connect with others and open your door to those who will also be alone
- Get a pet
- Go into the office
- Be good to yourself
Finally, she told us about the warning signs when it's time for people to reach out for professional help.
Here to help
- AARP Friendly Voice: Trained volunteers have a friendly voice to say hello
- United Way 211 CNY: Daily phone call service providing medication reminders and emotional support
- New York State Crisis Text Line: Anonymous texting service available 24/7; Text GOT5 to 741741
- Samaritan Helpline: Free, confidential, 24-hour emotional support and crisis response; Call 212-673-3000
- AARP Experience Corps: Sign up to volunteer in your community
- Generations United: Find co-housing opportunities
- Eldera: Read or mentor children online
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