Get out and volunteer, research suggests.
Loneliness is rampant, and it’s killing us—literally. Anywhere from one quarter to one half of Americans feel lonely a lot of the time, which puts them at risk for developing a range of physical and mental illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression. This is a public health problem that needs to be addressed on a wide scale.
But at the individual level, there is much we can do to ward off loneliness. One strategy is to bring a chessboard to a busy street and wait for someone to play with you. For the older man’s sake, I sincerely hope that this is effective, but I can’t be sure.