Social isolation is a significant contributor to unhappiness and ill-health, and unhappy people tend to die earlier than happier ones.

It’s easy to forget in our self-obsessed and pressured daily lives that contact with others helps not only them, but us as well. Compassion, empathy and caring can be as restorative for the giver, as for the person on the receiving end of the gesture.

Not everyone can give, particularly when they are isolated by their age, life circumstances or illness. The rest of us can do something about this by building bridges and keeping lines of communication open.

It’s not complicated to pick up the phone, cross the street, or wave.