Baby boomers are aging alone more than any generation in U.S. history, and the resulting loneliness is a looming public health threat. (Source: Wall Street Journal)
That amounts to about eight million people in the U.S. without close kin, the main source of companionship in old age, and their share of the population is projected to grow.
Researchers have found that loneliness takes a physical toll, and is as closely linked to early mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than six alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness is even worse for longevity than being obese or physically inactive.