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Loneliness has twice the impact on early death as obesity

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Warm beaches, tropical sands, low cost retirement: what’s not to love when it comes to retiring overseas?  And the fact is that for some people, if you find a place that you connect with, you can retire on a Social Security check and feel well off.  (See below for other suggestions about retiring overseas).  However, retiring overseas or indeed anywhere other than where you call “home” doesn’t automatically spell a life of ease no matter how closely it might resemble paradise to you.  If you haven’t planned correctly, you may feel disconnected and alone and that can spell health problems you never counted on.

Research psychologist, John Cacioppo, one of the nation’s leading experts on loneliness reported in 2010 that loneliness has twice the impact on early death as obesity.  He and his colleagues examined the role of satisfying relationships on the ability of older people to develop resilience to the stresses of modern life.  What they found is that loneliness can disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure and create a whole slew of other health issues.

Preparing for retirement should incorporate the need of most people for some sort of social connectedness.  Cacioppo breaks down that connectedness to three areas in an individual’s life: intimate (someone that affirms who you are); relational (mutually rewarding face-to-face contacts); and collective (being a part of a group).

Read this article for more information on the impact of loneliness on aging.

Here are some other tips for preparing yourself psychologically for retirement.

Sometimes, moving away from the problem of trying to stretch your retirement dollars creates even more problems.  If you are out of the country, how will you cope with seeing your grandchildren less often?  Will moving necessitate missing out on important family events like birthdays, weddings or births?  Will living somewhere else limit your ability to have access to the foods and things that bring comfort to you now?  What will you have as the purpose of your life regardless of where you live?  These are all questions to ask before you decide where you want to spend the rest of your life.  So.  Where will you live?


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