Do you have ageing parents who you don’t get to spend enough time with? Guess what - you had better cleared your schedule and penciled them in because as per new research, this could extend their lives.
Yup, that’s what researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have found, reports The Independent. According to them, not only will making time for your parents add a few extra years to their lives but loneliness could perpetrate a functional decline and, in some cases, premature death in older people.
The study, Loneliness in Older Persons, studied 1,600 adults with an average age of 71. It revealed that that nearly 23% of lonely participants died within six years of the study, compared to only 14% of hat reported experiencing adequate levels of companionship. The study also found that 43% of people over the age of 60 feel isolated.
Accordingly, the research concluded that loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life in older adults and could lead to depression, cognitive impairment and other health problems like coronary artery disease.
Social Scientists: Use research as a tool for social reforms
“The need we've had our entire lives - people who know us, value us, who bring us joy - that never goes away,” Barbara Moscowitz, senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the New York Times.
The theory that loneliness may impair health outcomes in older persons isn’t a new concept though. Another study by Brigham Young University in Utah from 2010 found that social ties are increasingly important to extending life, proving that people with lots of close friends and family around are likely to live longer than those who are alone.
Similarly, a report by the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) at University College, London (UCL), claimed that people over 50 who experience feelings of satisfaction about their life are more likely to live to an older age.
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