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How do I prevent loneliness after my divorce?

If you're going through a divorce after the age of 50, you might be worried about feeling lonely as you grow older. You might find a new partner to grow old with, but fears of loneliness in the meantime are a valid concern. Nevertheless, many Minnesotans are overcoming their fears of loneliness with some excellent strategies.

Social isolation is a serious threat to human health. In fact, the president of AARP says that social isolation is as dangerous as smoking 15 packs of cigarettes per day. Researchers have discovered that social isolation can lead to difficulty sleeping, heart disease, dementia, diminished immunity, high blood pressure and a higher likelihood of dying. Meanwhile, individuals who have enough social contact will exhibit a 50 percent higher chance of survival. Lack of social contact can also lead to an increased chance of suicide. Nevertheless, when Minnesota residents move into midlife and older, events like widowhood, divorce, children growing up and moving away, deaths of friends, driving restrictions, hearing loss, mobility loss and other health issues can trigger loneliness. In Minnesota, over 250,000 people aged 60 and up live by themselves.

So how do you prevent loneliness? Social service agencies are doing their part by hosting parties, matching older individuals with young peer volunteers and home-delivering meals. Also, the AARP published a pamphlet giving advice on how to stay socially active by calling friends, taking classes, going to faith-based organizations, volunteering and more. Some Minnesotans are creating co-housing communities, finding roommates and going to senior centers. Still, others are joining online dating sites.

A divorce lawyer can help you wrap up the last little bits of your Minnesota divorce proceedings, but once your legal process has completed, it will be up to you to proactively prevent symptoms of loneliness. Remember, just like you did when it was time to finalize your divorce, sometimes it's best to seek professional guidance.

Source: Star Tribune, "Are you lonesome? How Minnesota seniors are combating social isolation," Katy Read, Feb. 23, 2017

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