Dangerous toll on health

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Almost a third of all people aged 65 and over who live alone in Yorkshire admit to feeling lonely either some of the time or constantly.

And the health impact of living with loneliness make for horrifying reading.

According to the latest research, the effect of loneliness and isolation is similar to that of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Lonely people have a 64 per cent increased chance of developing clinical dementia, and adults aged 45 to 65 who already have heart disease, or are at risk of developing it, and live alone are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than those living with others.

The affect on mortality can be profound. Adults aged 85 and over suffering from depression and feelings of loneliness are twice as likely to die.