Study: For the Elderly, Staying Connected Is Staying Healthy
There have been numerous studies over the years which have shown a wide range of health benefits
to staying socially connected and regularly interacting with others. Recently, researchers in California
released the results of a study which highlight just how important staying socially connected can be,
especially for the elderly.
According to the recently released study by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco,
seniors who don't have regular social interactions and who feel lonely or isolated are much more likely
to die than seniors who are satisfied with their social lives. This study surveyed more than 1,600
participants over a six-year period between 2002 and 2008. The researchers asked the study
participants a series of questions every two years about how they felt about their social lives and
whether they ever felt lonely. They also asked about the general health of each participant and
whether they had experienced any new medical problems.
The results showed that seniors who reported that they sometimes felt lonely were approximately 45
percent more likely to die during the study than participants who made no such declarations. Those
same participants who reported feelings of isolation and loneliness were also about 60 times more
likely to have health conditions which decreased their ability to care for themselves.
This study provides further evidence for the need to remain socially active as a senior. Prior research
has shown that loneliness can decrease the effectiveness of your immune system, lead to an increased
risk of heart disease and is as dangerous a health risk as obesity and even smoking.
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