Everyone wants to live a long, healthy life. What if the key to doing that is simply being around other people, like your family and friends? There have been a lot of studies conducted on lifespan and what affects it.
The results of these studies all seem to suggest that avoiding loneliness can help you live longer.
According to Happiest:
“A study, conducted back in 2012, watched over 1,600 adults with an average age of 71, and compared their social interactions with their ongoing life span. The researchers found that 23% of the participants who reported loneliness died within six years. Meanwhile, only 14% of those with companionship died during the same time period.”
The researchers came to the conclusion that “loneliness is a significant factor in the decline of quality of life in older adults.”
The risks of depression, cognitive impairment, and other health problems, such as coronary heart disease, are all factors that may lead to an earlier death.
This isn’t the only study that seems to suggest that loneliness plays a factor in serious health problems.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, an associate professor of psychology at Brigham Young University in Utah, has conducted similar studies. She said:
“Our social relationships are important not only to our quality of life, but also our longevity. Throughout human history, we have relied on others for survival, such as protection and food, and despite modern advancements that may (help with) certain aspects of survival so that we can live more independently, it appears that our relationships nonetheless still impact odds of survival.”
This could explain why many elderly people who don’t have a lot of social interaction pass away suddenly or seem to suffer from more health problems than other people of the same age who have more social interaction.
Of course, it is best to spend time with family members, but this theory could prove that nursing homes are a good option for the elderly.
In these facilities, they get social interaction and attention and are less likely to be lonely. They are also more likely to be active and get the care they need.
Still, it should be a wakeup call to those who have elderly parents. Just stopping by once a week to visit or even making a few phone calls a week can make a big difference in their moods and overall health. Another option is to ask them to babysit, even if for a short time. Other studies suggest that grandparents who babysit are less likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you knew that spending a few extra hours with your parents could help them live longer, wouldn’t you do it?
Of course, more studies need to be conducted on this topic, but why chance it? It’s easy to see that spending more time with them makes them happy, and isn’t that enough reason to do it? Think of all the time your parents spent raising you. It’s time you return the favor and take care of them for a while.
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