Social Isolation Leads to Stress and Memory Loss

Loss of loved ones, loneliness, lack of things to do after retirement, and health problems can be major sources of stress, particularly in older people, who may lose hope. As we all know, severe depression is common following the profound trauma of bereavement. What is less well known is that memory loss occurs during the grieving process. In my own experience, I had poor concentration with memory lapses for several weeks after my father's death. I lost track of what people told me at work and in my personal life, and I was functioning below par for quite a while. It was as if my brain was a sieve, with information not being registered properly for later recall because my mind was preoccupied with thoughts and emotions and scenes that involved my father and the rest of my family.

While many of these life events are unavoidable, maintaining an active social life can help prevent both mental and physical decline. You can get away with a solo existence when you are young, but such a lifestyle can become an albatross around your neck when you are older. Physiologically, social isolation leads to sensory deprivation and understimulation of brain centers, which in turn causes cognitive, including memory, impairment.

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