According to a new study, hanging out with your mom may actually prolong her life and increase its quality.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that loneliness plays a large role in the decline so often associated with old age. The study followed 1,600 adults, with an average age of seventy one, despite controlling for socioeconomic status and health, the lonely consistently held higher mortality rates.
Almost 23% of lonely participants died within six years of the study, as opposed to only 14% of those that reported adequate companionship.
Talking to The New York Times, Barbara Moscowitz, a senior geriatric social worker at the Massachusetts General Hospital said, “The need we’ve had our entire lives, people who know us, value us, who bring us joy, that never goes away,”
The elderly place immense value in those relationships, so much so that they often overlook a great deal more than the younger people do.
“They’re pretty tolerant of friends’ imperfections and idiosyncrasies, more than young adults.” Rosemary Blieszner, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech said. She further added that it all really just came down to important relational skills which our grandparents have had a lifetime to hone.
“You bring a lot more experience to your friendships when you’re older. You know what’s worth fighting about and not worth fighting about.” She added.
It is therefore very important to invite our older relatives and friends into our homes more often. Aside from that, it is also beneficial to encourage elderly relationships which is why, despite popular belief, older folks tend to thrive in independent or assisted living environments as they provide more ways to mingle and to connect and hence to thrive.