We all know it is important to make the most of the time we have with one another, but did you know it could actually be increasing lifespans? One study found that spending time with your family members improved their chances of living a longer fuller life.
As you may have noticed a lot of older people deal with chronic loneliness. This actually accounting for the unexplained deaths when you really think about it. A study carried out a few years back with over 1,600 participants found that 23 percent of the participants who reported loneliness died within just 6 years. When compared to those who had companionship this was interesting as only 14 percent of those with companionship died within the same time frame.
When it comes to the quality of life older people are getting whether or not they are lonely is a big factor. The lonelier the person is the more likely they are to have severe health issues and even run the risk of developing depression and basically an early death. Social ties are crucial, have you ever sat at home for weeks on end with zero contact from the outside world? Does that sound fun to you?
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Brigham Young University has said as follows in regards:
“Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need — crucial to both well-being and survival. Extreme examples show infants in custodial care who lack human contact fail to thrive and often die, and indeed, social isolation or solitary confinement has been used as a form of punishment,”
“Yet an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”
“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators,”
“With an increasingly aging population, the effect on public health is only anticipated to increase. Indeed, many nations around the world now suggest we are facing a ‘loneliness epidemic.’ The challenge we face now is what can be done about it.”
As we grow older ourselves sometimes we forget to go see our older family members or we get too caught up in our own lives and don’t ‘have time.’ While it is understandable it is something we should be working hard to not do. We should be visiting our older family members and making sure they know that they are still cared for and loved. Please check out the video below for a bit more insight on the loneliness epidemic. Chronic loneliness does kill and it is an issue far more people need to be aware of.
Sometimes all they may need is a weekly visit, pop in for tea and catch up. Yes, something so small will make a huge difference in their quality of life. Forgetting those who took care of us is not something that we should be doing, it is our turn. We can and should do better.
Featured Image Via Snatched