Study Shows Hanging Out With Your Mother Could Make Her Live Longer
We've all been guilty at least once of forgetting to call our mum, but one study shows that it won't just make her happy but it also might just help her live longer too.
Researchers from the University of California have found that loneliness plays a big role in the health and well-being of older people.
They followed 1600 people who all had an average age of 71, and all of those who described themselves as lonely had higher rates of mortality.
Nearly a quarter of those who were lonely died within six years of the study in contrast to the 14 per cent of those that said they had friends and family around them.
Barbara Moscowitz , senior geriatric social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a piece for in a piece for The New York Times: "The need we've had our entire lives-people who know us, value us, who bring us joy-that never goes away."
The study also looks at how older people cultivate friendships and relationships in different ways.
"They're pretty tolerant of friends' imperfections and idiosyncrasies, more than young adults," she said. "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."
Unlike young people who enjoy the variety of having many different friends and acquaintances, as people get older and begin attending too many funerals they begin to prioritise friendships a little differently.
Laura Carstensen, a psychologist at Stanford University developed a theory that she called "socioemotional selectivity". This means that as people start realising they have little time left in their lives, they start focusing less on their superficial relationships to concentrate more on the more meaningful ones.
So next time you want to give your mother a call - perhaps invite her over to dinner instead.
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