An old Carole King song captures the emotional value of having a friend. New research from the Stanford Center on Longevity confirms it, saying that social engagement promotes physical and mental health, while social isolation costs people both personal and medical problems. According to the study, "socially isolated individuals face health risks comparable to those of smokers."
The study analyzes two main areas: meaningful relationships with friends and family and social involvement in the community. For most age groups in America, social engagement has gone down marginally since 1995. Unfortunately, there's one group where social engagement has decreased significantly: baby boomers between 55 and 64 years old.