You might be able to do a little about one major kind of health risk with the right outbound call, or the right marketing table at the right store.

That risk is social isolation

The most attractive prospects for some types of financial services products may be more likely than the typical consumer to have a stable career, a stable family life and a warm, attentive network of relatives and friends. 

Related: Survey: Seniors with higher income levels are less lonely

But single men and single women tend to have a more obvious need for long-term care planning services than married consumers, and some of the first formal long-term care institutions found in recorded history started up to serve elderly single women who had no relatives willing and able to take them in.

The vulnerability of lonely consumers to the wrong kind of sales pitch has long been a worry for regulators. 

But the irony is that insurance agents and brokers with the right motives might be able to make a small difference simply by reaching out and making themselves known. Producers with more time and resources might be able to help by working with compliance professionals to organize the high-minded, genuinely educational, supportive seminars and social affairs that even a grizzled insurance sales regulator can love. 

Another, simpler approach might be to help make people aware of Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and mobile apps that can help them connect with one another.

The National Center for Health Statistics offers state-by-state data on loneliness among U.S. adults ages 18 and older in a collection of survey data gathered by government survey teams from 2016 through 2012.

The percentage of adult survey participants who told survey workers that they wished they had more social and emotional support ranged from a low of 14.1 percent, in Minnesota, up to a high of more than 24 percent, in three states.

The median loneliness percentage was about 19 percent.

For a look at the states with the worst official loneliness rates, read on:

Birmingham, Alabama (Photo: Jeremy Edwards/TS)

Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo: Thinkstock)

7. Alabama

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  22.7%.

 

Related: Women vs. men in retirement: More stress, but also more joy

Las Vegas

6. Nevada

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  22.7%.

 

Related: 10 worst states for elder firearm deaths

San Antonio bull

A storefront bull in San Antonio (Photo: Allison Bell/LHP)

5. Texas

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  23.1%.

  

Related: The secret sadness of retired men

New York

Central Park in New York City (Photo: Allison Bell/LHP)

4. New York

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  23.9%.

 

Related: The fight against fraud

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu (Photo: Thinkstock)

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. (Photo: Thinkstock)

3. Hawaii

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  24.1%

 

Related: Have Time And Money, Will Travel 

Natchez, Mississippi (Photo: Thinkstock)

Natchez, Mississippi (Photo: Thinkstock)

2. Mississippi

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  24.4%.

 

Related: Seniors speak out: Do you think you’ll ever move into a nursing home?

A beach in La Jolla, CA. (AP photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

La Jolla, California. (AP Photo)

1. California

Percentage of adults who say they wish they had more social and emotional support:  24.6%.

 

Related: Prescription for loneliness? Take a tablet 

U.S. loneliness data, for 2006-2012

 

This table gives the age-adjusted percentage of adults, in all 50 states the District of Columbia, who told government survey workers from 2006 through 2012 that they wished they had more social and emotional support.

  

  Adults who wish they had more social and emotional support, in %
Alabama 22.7%
Alaska 18.6%
Arizona 19.4%
Arkansas 20.9%
California 24.6%
Colorado 16.9%
Connecticut 18.9%
Delaware 16.5%
District of Columbia 22.2%
Florida 21.2%
Georgia 20.7%
Hawaii 24.1%
Idaho 16.4%
Illinois 20.4%
Indiana 20.2%
Iowa 15.3%
Kansas 15.7%
Kentucky 19.7%
Louisiana 21.7%
Maine 16.3%
Maryland 19.8%
Massachusetts 18.5%
Michigan 19.6%
Minnesota 14.1%
Mississippi 24.4%
Missouri 19.1%
Montana 17.3%
Nebraska 17.1%
Nevada 22.7%
New Hampshire 17.1%
New Jersey 21.8%
New Mexico 20.1%
New York 23.9%
North Carolina 20.6%
North Dakota 16.0%
Ohio 19.5%
Oklahoma 20.1%
Oregon 15.2%
Pennsylvania 20.9%
Rhode Island 20.1%
South Carolina 22.0%
South Dakota 16.8%
Tennessee 18.9%
Texas 23.1%
Utah 15.2%
Vermont 16.5%
Virginia 18.5%
Washington 16.9%
West Virginia 19.0%
Wisconsin 16.1%
Wyoming 16.2%
Source: National Center for Health Statistics Health Indicators Warehouse

  

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