WIN Wyoming

Thought Bullets
May 2006

Loneliness and Blood Pressure: 
Health advantages of family and friends 

This last December my Grandma turned 91.  She spent most of the month of December coordinating efforts with friends in her nursing home to put together gift boxes for needy children around the world.  Some of the gift boxes went to kids in America who lost everything they owned in the Katrina disaster.  One day when I met with my Grandma in early December she was excited about finding “a steal” on socks at a local discount store.  She remembered when she was poor and very young that socks were the commodity she held most precious.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from my Grandma over the years it is this: the best way to forget about your own troubles is to engulf yourself in helping to resolve the troubles of others.  A recently released study suggests that one of the secrets to my Grandma’s longevity and good health may very well be her ability to make social connections throughout her lifetime.  A study released in the March issue of the Journal of Psychology and Aging found that as you age, loneliness can be as bad for your blood pressure as smoking or an inactive lifestyle. 


Compiled by Betty Holmes, MS, RD

Return to Thought Bullets--main page.
Return to home page.